My Mother Threw Away My Blender
My mother threw away the blender my father was supposed to fix for me.
My mother, who keeps everything, threw away my Oster Classic chrome beehive blender.
My mother wants me to suffer: She wants to cluck her tongue,
say poor dear, sweep in and solve all my problems.
Because she can’t, because I don’t want her to,
my mother threw away my chrome beehive blender.
My mother steers me around a wake like a prize pony, introduces me
as her baby, though I am 43. My mother doesn’t actually seem to like me very much.
People laugh with surprise at my mother’s words. They say, your baby is so tall.
As if they expect a 43-year-old to be toddler short.
As if I would have never grown.
My mother speaks, makes worlds happen, still.
I oblige, grow ridiculously tall, middle-school awkward,
nerve-naked on display, bare as the body in the casket.
Staying Out Of It
Brown wall-to-wall carpet, brown paneled walls,
fall/winter days of nothingness,
small town boredom, day after day of this.
My mother sewed doll clothes while I was
away at school to make life more noble.
She never finished the zippers or the buttons.
My brother hit my father with a 2 by 4.
I never saw it, but I can picture the board in his hand,
see the swing, hear the sickening thud of contact.
But I did see the knife thrown down in anger
spin on our aging linoleum floor. I remember that spin,
jumping back, wondering where the knife would go.
And I remember one sibling plunging another’s head
into a sink of dirty dish water, the arc of water
that sprayed the kitchen when the head came out.
I remember my mother pulling one of my sisters by the hair
out of a room, my brother slamming my head against a wall.
I was the youngest watcher, peering through lowered eyes.
In my twenties and thirties, I pretended none of it ever happened.
I haven’t had a phone call from my parents in
ten years. Always I must call them. I don’t.
Jennifer Judge is a poet and personal essayist whose work has appeared in Literary Mama, Blueline, Under the Gum Tree, and Rhino, among others. She lives in northeastern Pennsylvania with her husband and two daughters. She teaches writing at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre and earned her MFA from Goddard College.