Flat Days © 1996
by Joan Papalia-Eisert

in the secret daytime world
that belonged to mothers before now
the whish of long-spaced traffic
was muffled in my sanctuary
as i lay on the living room couch
in front of the picture window
with venetian blinds
listening to game show bells
or enigmatic soaps

maybe I had the flu one of those days
but most likely fluency didn¹t have me
as was always the case anyway
so some days i created an ailment
so i could just be quiet
and have my mother iron hankies
beside me or plough up and down
the basement stairs with laundry
or clank and bake and wash up
in the kitchen while she talked
in Italian on the phone with her mother
or make me tea and toast
sick was always tea and toast

another one of those days
she came floating down the hallway
with a kotex introductory kit
and tentatively presented it to me
i held it largely on my lap
and looked at the sketches
of precise and sterile
'reproductive organs'
and yes, I could take a bath

then on another day
in no time
when the morning was gray dark
and my underpants were brown red
i called her and showed her
i reverently pulled
those long blue tabs
of the sanitary napkin
through the belt¹s garters
not quite forgetting
the bright red blood
trickling with my pee
into that same toilet
when i was four
and my best friend's father
had raped me