F. Douglas Brown

Poem My Mother Doesn’t Want Right Now

my mother down the hall fast       like a train
                or a bus blurting away       her sprint turned

                                to tears:—and then into drops
                                                of shit       a trail of shit and she

                                                                is a paper icon       is bread and dirt
                                                                                crumbling in the murderous hands of the hall

                                                                                                I try to scrub fast       fast as my mother’s leap
                                                                                                into the bathroom and into embarrassment—:

                                                                                soiled gown       closed door       tears to
                                                                the ceiling       thudding between the fan blades

                                                am I right saying nothing       letting this slide
                                off the now clean tile       pine disinfecting

                the moment       am I right as I quietly wash her
clothes       erasing the residue of what age is doing to her


Douglas_BrownF. Douglas Brown is the author of Zero to Three (University of Georgia Press 2014), recipient of the 2013 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. He also co-authored with poet Geffrey Davis, Begotten (November 2016), a forthcoming chapbook of poetry from Upper Rubber Boot Books as part of URB’s Floodgate Poetry series. Mr. Brown, teaches English at Loyola High School of Los Angeles, and is both a Cave Canem and Kundiman fellow. When he is not teaching, writing or with his two children, Isaiah and Olivia, he is busy DJing in the greater Los Angeles area.


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