Char*Is*Ma


In New York there’s always an alarm going off
and a garbage truck regurgitating
and a pesky dog barking
and that astonishing phenomenon known to its denizens
as alternate side of the street parking.
Basically it means
that the first thing you do in the morning,
tired and yawning
is go out and move your car
from one side of the street to the other.
Unless your my mother
who can never remember
where she left it the night before.
Three blocks away or outside the front door,
which is why she sends me out
every morning before school,
as a scout.
To scour the neighborhood
in search of our beat-up, dented, rusty, secondhand automobile
which no one will steal.
And why every morning
before the bus
there’s this terrible fuss
when she looks at me in a kind of bleary miasma
and I have to tell her
all over again
sunshine or rain
“I don’t know where the Char*Is*Ma.

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