How many times did I stand in that kitchen and look out the window just above the sink yearning to escape? That kitchen with its chipped pink cabinets and worn linoleum floor with its many loose tiles, a stained beige curtain flung across a dirty screen, the stove with its two working burners where I burned all the food, the rickety table with four empty chairs, refrigerator belching deep into the night.
I was a robot then, chopping, washing, stooping, falling, while I held a paper bag open to receive my mother’s vomit, wiping up widening circles of milk and feces like circles of Hell as days turned into nights and weeks into years without notice or boundary, wearing the same drab expression and the same sad clothes.
Each evening when I put out the garbage beneath the cold winter sky, bags of broken blood pressure monitors and moldy bananas scooped up and tossed into the can’s open mouth-- what did I feel?
Snow crunched under my boots, as I crossed the shadowy lawn and re-entered the house, the ghost of my almost dead mother tottering beside me, my love for her frozen next to the bulbs of daffodils under the hard uneven earth.