Baking Soda

Like every mamma, she had her own remedies,

like baking soda

on a canker sore. It doesn’t sound easy,

but it worked; besides, her own

mother (my grandmother, died before

I was born) tried this on her,

"And see? I survived." (Shrug).


Still, I wouldn’t do it by myself.

She had to bend before me

at the bathroom sink, tug

at my lip to expose the ulcer,

milk white and irritated by a curious

tongue running over its crater.


"Hold still."

it's better to plunge into the drama,

to twist and grind a coated finger into

the open wound before my consent.

The sting wouldn’t make a noise;

if it did, it would have sizzled,

hissed like meat frying on a skillet,

or the poppop...pop of grease landing on

dodging fingers.


And it was over, the pain left

to fade as I slept away anger on the jaw.


My mamma

and baking soda

taught me the first life lesson:

sometimes, it must get worse, than better.

By the time I had reached my twenties

I had heard this saying so many times,

in so many ways,

that it began to sound too hopeful

for a self-styled cynic. So maybe

that's why it's only true when I hear

it in her voice on days it's time


to resort to her remedy

◄ This Closure

Sort of a Well Adjusted Adult, part II ►


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Fernwood Press

Fri 15th Feb 2019 20:57

Taking small moments from childhood and expanding them into these larger thoughts and ideas is a really beautiful way to get a point across.

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