My mother chucks muck from the gutter

by Esther Sadoff

leans one foot swinging over nothing,
ignores storm clouds, the ladder
gone rickety over rocks until the drain
sputters and shocks, a gush of brown
water gone clear. She pours coffee water
over spider plants, and once nearly
chucked the bucket at a high-hanging aloe before I stopped her.
She wipes down spider webs and dust
without looking, rinses clumps in the white sink.
I imagine her walking away from my father,
declaring him a baby, she three years his senior.
She drifted down the gray beach away from him.
How she said Not in your mother’s house and
Not unless you are a doctor. How she’d wait
another three years, teach him to get things done.

Esther Sadoff is a teacher and writer from Columbus, Ohio. Her poems have been featured or are forthcoming in Little Patuxent ReviewJet Fuel ReviewCathexis Poetry NorthwestSanta Clara ReviewSouth Florida Poetry Journal, among others.


Photography by: Abel Y Costa