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My Mother's See-Through Blouse
Jim Daniels

A rare night out, my oldest brother
babysitting the rest of us.
My mother emerged from their bedroom
in a see-through blouse,
her plain white bra clearly visible.

What was she thinking?  To wake up
my father's numb shuffle, I guess.

What was she thinking?  
My father looked up, jumped
spilled his coffee.
I was thirteen and couldin't look.

My father didn't yell--
he paced and shook his head
he opened his mouth
he closed his eyes
he made fists.

He sent us to our rooms.
What were you thinking?
He asked her.

I can pile up the facts:
My father was never home.
They were both forty.
She cried.  They went nowhere.

We never saw the blouse again.
It was rose colored.  

My mother had one of her 
dizzy spells--she lay in bed
all weekend.

My father made us pancakes
the next morning, and they
weren't bad.

He didn't say much.
Kept looking at his watch.
Your mother's sick, he said
and we knew.

Through the cracked door
I saw him sitting on the edge 
of their bed.  I couldn't see
her.  Nobody said a thing.

Something might have happened,
but the next day it was back
to work, and overtime.  

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