One For MAMA
My numb-nuts brother-in-law is 41 years old.
He won’t get a job and thinks Mama
will take care of him forever.
But Mama’s losing her marbles.
She walks to the store in the middle of the night
but the store is closed in the middle of the night.
She stands at the door of the store
at the shelves stocked with darkness.
Sometimes she stumbles and falls in the potholes
and sometimes the street dogs chase her.
She can’t run too fast at 72
in her rotten sandals.
My numb-nuts nephew sits playing video games 24/7.
His eyes are bloodshot.
He’s fat as a walrus and grunts
when he wants food.
Mama makes him eggs and tortillas and brings them on a plate
but sometimes the eggs and tortillas run out
and the money too.
Some things are easy to understand.
Other things take more brainpower and patience.
Most of the family would like to club numb-nut’s skull in
but Mama would cry
and nobody wants to hear Mama cry.
Went swimming in the ocean yesterday.
It’s October and the water was cold,
bracing and good for the hangover,
helps to freeze and shrink the hot balloon head.
Natalia went with me but she doesn’t swim.
It was a bit windy
and there is a lot of fecal matter in the air here
in our small Mexican town.
Natalia is scared of the wind.
She’s scared of almost everything these days:
dogs, cats, strangers, yeast, grocery stores, the sun, sugar.
We carry an umbrella
and plant it in the sand of the beach.
She sits under it and watches me swim.
It’s like being on the moon when I’m in the water
or flying in a dream.
Sometimes there are manta rays that will sting you
and bright blue jellyfish the size of baseballs.
They’ve touched me and didn’t sting me
but it’s only a matter of time I’m told.
A lot of people wear shoes in the water but I don’t.
The scientists found fossilized footprints
in New Mexico the other day.
It was on the news.
In the photos you could clearly see they were human footprints
with the unmistakable splayed toes.
They say they are 23,000 years old
which is hard to imagine.
I wonder what they were doing 23,000 years ago.
Just walking around
looking for food,
trying to get out of the mud.
I wonder if they were confused
about the meaning of it all
or if they knew something
that I do not.
Suegra’s car broke down again.
She called the cheapest mechanic she could find.
He came over on the bus,
got off with a walking stick and a tool box.
He was blind.
A blind mechanic
(just when you think you’ve seen it all.)
He fiddled around under the hood with his fat fingers.
Everybody rolled their eyes saying this can’t be happening,
who is this crazy old blind man?
He said he needed a part from Auto Zone.
Pedro went and got it.
The blind man felt it and said,
I need the other kind.
Pedro went back to Auto Zone
pissed off and muttering.
When he returned the blind man put the new part in.
It took him awhile but he got it in there.
Fire her up, the blind man said.
Suegra got in and sure enough the old beast came to life.
Suegra paid the blind man
and he felt the bills and was satisfied.
He gathered his tools without missing a one,
tapped his walking cane off to the bus stop
while we all held our beers
and wondered what we were doing with our lives.
Mather Schneider has had many poems and stories published since 1994. He has a few books available on Amazon. He spends his time between Tucson, Arizona and Mexico. He's been blocked by the best writers of his generation. Namaste.