Child, your mother’s hair unwashed for a week
tangles limply on the pillow.
Flattened by overuse, you prop her up, she slips back down.
There is no justice.
You bring in dandelions she has no puff to blow.
She swallows watery gruel and superlatives
with equal indifference,
Spooned out at intervals,
when you remember she is human too.
There is no medicine
if oil tars feathers
and causes the family to mat and separate.