The last time I saw my mother alive
was in the lounge
of the Glenwood psychiatric hospital.
Lovely view from there.
She was there
due to a certain difficulty, as my father
described it, with alcohol.
She sat in a white plastic covered chair.
I sat across from her in the other
white plastic covered chair.
Both bolted to the floor.
While patients shuffled around us
looking this way and that
like pedestrians forever crossing the street.
When I rose to leave, she said
as if balancing
her words on a very long tightrope
over a center ring filled with red sawdust.
She looked down at me from that
as if i were a net.
Days later, when she fell and landed
in the front seat
of an idling Cadillac
behind a closed garage door,
I was a spectator
in the stands,
with cotton candy and peanuts,
as horrified as anyone
at her misstep. But relieved,
despite the tears of a child,
that the circus,
and all its sideshows,
was finally leaving town.