the waiting chair

Faint words beckon me from sleep.
I step groggy, into the hallway.
Round the corner. Bathroom door.

My mother’s legs are stretched straight.
Her naked back slumped forward.

It’s an old rotary dial, hinged on the wall.
I did what was asked of me.
I called my dad at work.
I called an ambulance.
I called for help.

The Grey Nun’s Hospital.
I was born there.
Perhaps I was there again.
The walls were grey.
I sat in that chair.


Now I’m a big girl.
I’m tired of waiting for context.
So I go back.
I go back, prepared to kneel down
and open my arms.

But I’ve flown further
to another little girl
on a backdoor stoop.

Please don’t poke at him,
she says to the night sky.
Please don’t, mama.
We all know he will hit you.

For all of the little girls sitting in chairs.
Waiting for all of the little girls sitting on stoops.

Let’s go home now.

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