First up and around in the house
Brewing coffee for The Beast
who will turn into my mother after her first cup

She stumbles down the hall
First Bel-Air in hand
I make my breakfast and my lunch

Even at seven, I knew this cycle
would never end
Keeping Mom happy enough to live with

In later years, after I had indulged, passively by
breathing others’ smoke in late-night jazz clubs, and
actively by drinking, snorting, and toking

I decided there was another path
and that this merry-go-round of “self-careless”
must have an exit

Today, smoke-free, drug-free, booze-free
I know she was caught on that carousel from Hell
and that choosing otherwise was possible
© 2010 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil