When the ladies at dominoes begin talking daughters,

my mother keeps quiet for several months. She listens

to Cynthia whose darling married the no-good

taxi driver from Budapest, Anna whose offspring

quit her perfectly good job at AT&T to ride across

America on a motorcycle, Louise whose baby

was a slut from the crib-and always would be, four husbands!

Francine who had no idea anything was wrong

between her daughter and that musician rock star

until she phoned last night, Mary whose favorite

went to Brown University and never did anything

with her education but have five kids to whom

she was feeding raw milk, hasn’t she heard

of tuberculosis or polio? oh, some hogwash

about straight-from-the-cow proteins which boost

the immune system. When Mary begins to weep

my mother puts her arm around her, whispers

she understands. My mother is disappointed too.

Her daughter is a writer, spreading stories

about the whole fabricated family.

Lois Marie Harrod’s “The Only Is” won the 2012 Tennessee Chapbook Contest (Poems & Plays). She teaches creative writing at The College of New Jersey. www.loismarieharrod.com

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