My mother’s old now;
she’s almost my baby.
Soon she’ll have to go to school. 

Death will have to take her.
He has her during the week,
I get her on weekends.

I’m like my mother—
neither of us can drive.
The court didn’t care for that.
That’s why I didn’t win full custody.

So, on weekends, my mother and I wait at a bus shelter.
Death’s around here someplace—
no such thing as unsupervised visits, with him.

I’d kill for a restraining order,
but that would require his assistance. 

I’d accuse him of breaking the bus-shelter window,
but that’s not his style. Besides, it’s not even real glass,
the way today is spring in writing only,
endorsed by a calendar’s soon-to-be-crossed-out square. 

Our divorce was amicable;
he wasn’t a bad provider,
and everyone says
reconciliation is inevitable. 

In fact, he still has his good points.
He lets the bus complete its route,
he lets the market exist. 

With expiration dates
he signs the shelved milk and pills, the batteries
for disaster flashlights— 

One turn down the wrong aisle
and I’m the child again,
scanning the market
for my lost mother—

Strangers all I can turn to,
and one I must marry.

This poem appeared in the October 4, 2012 issue of the magazine.