Mother sits me down
in front of The Partridge Family
& says “do your homework.”

I had already done my homework, see,
but she doesn’t know that.

Mother sits me in the front
pew in church, telling me to
“sit up straight” &
“pay attention to the priest.”

I cannot help but sit
up straight to those scary words.

Mother sits me down
to tell me about lyin’, cheatin’,
& stealin’, & how “your eyes
gone fall out if your arms don’t fall off.”

I cannot help but leave
a little blood on the kitchen chair.

Mother sits me in front
of a lily-white casket, flowers
already dryin’ up around her, says
“sit up straight, do your homework.”

I’ve done my homework, Mother.
Can’t you see that by now?