Drove out of the parking lot,
opened the door of my yellow Camaro, threw up,
and drove on. Not sure I was the one
who should have been driving. Three women
out for a boozy lunch. This must have been before Mom said,
I’m not watching the kids if you’re going out drinking.
Someone brought up Iowa, that Freddie and Valjean,
were visiting her parent’s farm there.
On a whim, we picked up babies, packed extra diapers,
and took off.
At night, left your brother and Valjean’s little girl
with Freddie. Four women and a baby in a stroller.
We took you to town, to places you didn’t belong.
Valjean’s mom told me what a good mother I was.
In daylight, you sat in a box under a tree, giggled
and grabbed leaves by the handful. Your brother ran.
You guys loved that farm, the farm Valjean escaped.
Poor Valjean. Her mother doted on tiny, graceful you,
not the big-boned grandbaby all the way from New Jersey.
I didn’t understand then about family politics,
about Freddie, the nurturer, who just happened to be
a dope dealer, about disappointment,
or about the changes I had to make in myself
to be a proper mother.