The Rule Book for Mothers

Look,

this is the way

a mother should

be,

hair combed

and the teeth

slick from the minutes

it takes to brush

them

and showered skin

that smells

like apples.

And she’s never hurried

almost lethargic

in her sanguine

fashion.

The skin that smells

like apples

and the teeth

slick

to the touch

should never

have the harsh

scent of glass bottles,

old man’s Jack,

V is for vodka

or the ever-telling

red wine stain.

No, mothers

should be like

the time

I saw that woman

with the baby shoved

snug against one hip

And a happy face

clutching the other

And she looked

like a painting,

breathing,

walking,

talking,

through

Target.

And loving

those children

Like love

never comes

at a cost.

Like love’s

a drug you drink

until it stains

your teeth.

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