Her neck nods, then halts, catching herself from sleep
on the couch, like when she’d come home from work
while we were under her roof
I feel like I need to fix something
Blue light flickers into the wrinkles of her sixties,
into her cheeks and eyes
Or that I failed somehow
I feel bad you guys aren’t friends
And now she takes misguided grandchildren
prays for them to iron out and keep straight
their young souls, which my oldest brother wasn’t
taught how to mold. So she tucks them in sleeping bags
and takes them to church, and does the old job
that three-verse number of hers
and one day they still strangle a cat
or kill one in the dryer when nobody’s looking
or run away from home
or sneak out of the detergent aisle to be alive elsewhere
but she knows it is an eternal role
her Earthly purpose, to be mother and half father:
to love unconditionally and to scrutinize
a lack of common sense
to make us tough and sweet like the Fraser
fir-shaped sand tarts she bakes at Christmas
You didn’t fail us, I say, picturing Dad’s nest of tools,
all the work he’s done for his collection of transistor radios
You had to be more than you when Dad gave up…
We’re friends, I assure. Just different people.
Yeah, she says. Dad does seem like that.
But he’s so proud of you.
One Reply to “Bryce Johle, “Late Night Texts from Mom while My Brother and I Argue””
I loved Bryce Johle’s Late Night Texts from Mom while My Brother and I Argue in Hedge Apple. The way the author captures the humor and frustration of dealing with family dynamics through text messages is both relatable and entertaining. Highly recommend giving it a read!