Checked Out

I checked out

six years ago. Long before my mother

had checked out too.

For me (I cannot speak for her) it was like standing in line at the register,

the one with a slow cashier.

There was a moment

-a moment , the importance of which I did not understand.

What’s a moment

after all? I made the choice and chose

the wrong line.

The slow line.

The line where the person behind me spurned

the notion of personal space

and had a cold

and was coughing

and didn’t know,

nor care

to cover her mouth

nor turn her head.

And she wanted me to move

ahead, out of her way.

So she pressed and pressed against the barrier I thought I built

around myself but dropped the day I was born

to my mother who checked out  long before anyone, other than me,

ever knew.

So I stood in her-

not my mother’s but the woman’s standing behind me


Small liquid droplets

shot forth from her red,

raw throat.

Those droplets

pushing me forward into a direction

I thought I had no choice but to go.

What I should have done was leave:

the cart in the aisle,

the million silly things I thought I needed to do.

I should have left it all

and walked away.

But I did as I should.

I did as mother would

and checked out

six years ago.





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