the world is moving– into a 50 miles per hour flat

the room’s an elephant,
scratching its grey&leathery skin along my chest,
sQuishiNg me
into a corner

my mom places words against the walls,
in smalltalk& the slit-eyed tigercat
snores old sophisticated melodies
as if she was a diva on an opera stage


–and sileNce

“i still bake my own cake”

“oh, i–“

a small bed against the wall
“she cannot take her wardrobe” i think
every quarter minute

some weird lines cross
and they both talk, wrapped
in different worlds

“i’m moving in this january” my mom says,
she couldn’t sleep last nite
too excited/sad/unnerved

all the steep stairs
in the old house
into a madman’s dance,
a catch-me-if-you-can,
a french cancan
stripping their shaved and sun-tanned legs
gath’ring uP blueredwhite skirts
a flag,
a detoNation

i start breathing
after 7 hours
after worlds did fall apart
after i held the car door open
for my mom
“you’ll be fine” i smile
and count the headlights

of a million stars


i’m guest-hosting at dVerse tomorrow and we’re writing about emotions – just your emotions – not anyone else’s – using specific images and metaphors, avoiding generalization – and so on… smiles
3pm EST tomorrow…


46 responses to “the world is moving– into a 50 miles per hour flat

  1. Oh, it’s been a while – how I’ve missed your poetry and your inspiration! Am a bit too overcome with emotions at the moment to write, but will read gladly!

  2. I feel both the relief and the sadness in this poem, Claudia. I am sure your mother has the same emotions. And there is pride in the words “I still bake my own cake.” Time passes for us all – one day at a time. And it is good she will have a comfortable place.

  3. Oh wow, this hits close to home, kiddo……… I approach that awkward age when my kids dont know what to do with me. Smiles. Your mom sounds gallant and brave. I hate those steep steps for her, and all the headlights driving home. My heart goes out to you both. As Mary says, one day at a time. Best we can do. Fantastic writing and I have missed your poems!

  4. I’m glad you mom can make that decision to move… my mom refused until she reached the point of being forced to a home… so this hit home… I think it will be fine, and your mother seems to move in prided which is good… There are so many emotions in this…

  5. I especially like:
    “some weird lines cross
    and they both talk, wrapped
    in different worlds”

    What an impact this will have in all your lives; and it will be the precious moments of sharing you will collect during this time that will be worth all the hard work and effort required. Powerful emotions here in this little poem! So good to read you again, C.

  6. Ah…the transition of our closest ones…change not only for them….memory of images from childhood, huge bolt thru spine….been there with my dad…..much strength and love in each moment, and be kind to yourself….

  7. “the room’s an elephant,
    scratching its grey&leathery skin along my chest”

    What a fantastic opening. The elephant in the room. So clever. I also really like the second stanza.

    Wonderful poem.

  8. I like the weaving of the personal perspective with world breaking apart ~ I specially love this part:

    all the steep stairs
    in the old house
    into a madman’s dance,

    So good to read you Claudia ~ Thanks for hosting ~

  9. I agree with Grace, the /all the steep stairs/ line is sterling, & like the others, I have missed you & your words; such a relief to feast upon them again. Congrats on your Art career & the piece in the newspaper. My mother-in-law just passed away at 90, but she had been able to stay in her home until the end.

  10. Your words and presence have been much missed. This poem serves as a reminder of your brilliance with words and colors. My mother is now only able to walk about her sister’s house, sit and watch the birds outside. She can no longer do the cooking in which she took so much pride. But she is safe and loved and made to feel valuable. I miss her. She fought against not being independent but finally realized, after a bad fall, she needed care. Being at home, though not her home, has been a blessing for us. My heart is with you and your mom. Excellent work. Don’t be a stranger!

  11. It is has been a long time since I visited. This resonated with me Claudia. I like many others had to place both my parents into Aged Care. It is heart wrenching. Beautifully written – thank you.

  12. I could feel your words as my mom’s health has been declining and I’ve been trying to get her to go through her things so she can downsize a bit. I’ve missed your story poems.

  13. “i still bake my own cake”—this is such a powerful line in here. A perfect poem that meets the prompt so well!!

  14. Sadly perhaps.. life is much too busy
    for folks to partake in nuanced
    complex emotions when
    all is go go.
    and challenges
    come come.. like
    a never ending faucet
    of what’s next.. well.. we
    do the best we can and move
    on.. but oh how.. emotions.. color
    the grey and black of life.. and sure
    poetry is one way to honor that and
    nice to see you Claudia.. you
    never play games..
    and i tend
    to like
    that form
    of being..
    where living
    is key.. and just
    bomb the other stuff dead..
    or alive

  15. Oh how it must be a weight to bear, having the room as an elephant instead of there simply being an elephant in the room. I felt your emotion every step of the way. I love how the title gives you an idea of steady speed, yet the poem itself stops and starts, slows and quickens. I could feel you hold your breath too, until you started breathing again. Thanks for the read!

  16. Oh! I do not know what part I like the most. The elephant-room is amusing and feels so real –I can relate to been in that room some time not so far away. The stairs brought to life work very well as well. The emotions are evoked in a magical an honest way.

  17. Claudia! What a delight to see your name hosting the pub!

    I suspect your poem is going to hit a lot of us who are dealing/have dealt with aging parents at home as well. Beautifully captured.

  18. This was painful to read as I am going through a similar situation but my mum is on the side of the world. Here I am sending you the best of wishes to you and your family. I missed your beautiful and heartfelt poetry.

    Greetings from London.

  19. I’m just so happy to “see” you, Claudia. This poem just pulses the intense emotion that I share dealing with a parent as she becomes more diminished. I’ve always found your ability to express emotion in poetry and art to be so effective because you come at it through the back door, so to speak, and that is so much better. I am sorry I’m not present at the pub but do intend to write to this…David is keeping me crazy-busy cleaning up after his cooking. Maybe I could just post a “before” picture…that should tell a story. :0) Love to you and be safe.

  20. … my room has been an elephant for quite some time now … with no end in sight … or maybe more like a bull moose cuz hey, this is Canada, after all … anyway, nice to see and read you again, C … Love, cat.

  21. I now live in a world where parents, and grandparents are an accepted part of a household. Given the penchant in Canada and the United States to warehouse the elderly this poem is a reminder of how beautiful family can be.

  22. oh this hits its mark… and I so like these lines:
    “my mom places words against the walls,
    in smalltalk& the slit-eyed tigercat
    snores old sophisticated melodies
    as if she was a diva on an opera stage”

  23. Wow, big changes and the attendant emotions, so we’ll described. Hope the new year is good to you, claudia.

  24. … for 16 years she took care of me … soon it will be time to take care of her for what ever how long it’ll take … smiles … Love, cat.