Mercy Breakfast

After my mother died
the Styrofoam cups lasted six years.
People we barely knew
offered casseroles and buckets
of chicken, paper plates,
cases of coke.

Since my sisters
could not fill them out,
most clothes
came to me. We practiced
braiding her wig,
made it mat and tangle

I don’t know what happened
to her smooth prosthetic,
its flat side shining
like the layer that’s skimmed off
after chicken boils.

I starched shirt collars,
wrote notes
on lunchbox napkins.
I already knew how to separate
the delicates,
how to slip an egg
over the edge of the pan
while it’s still frying.

"Mercy Breakfast" first appeared in Loose Change