Monday, August 24, 2009

My Mother Used to Say

Always wear nice underthings, she said,

whenever you leave the house

just in case … of terror attack.

Maybe she said don’t expose

your nice underthings to terrorists

because they will never leave the house.

Perhaps it was always wear

your terror exposed when

you leave your nice underthings at home.

Not lingerie (too fancy)

not panties or bra (too specific)

not underwear (what boys have).

By nice she meant clean, no stains,

no holes, no worn elastic.

By leave the house she meant

go anywhere besides the yard.

By just in case she meant don’t embarrass me

if you get taken by ambulance to the hospital

because you were in some accident

where they have to strip you to get to your wounds

and you are wearing a pair of underpants

held together by safety pins.

Because they will think

“what kind of mother do you have anyway,”

which will distract them from treating you,

then you will die because the nurses and doctors

could only focus on your ratty underpants,

your neglectful mother and the fact that no one ever

told you to wear nice underpants when you leave

the house and so there you are dead because

you didn’t take the time to put on nice underpants.

And what she really meant by that

was don’t live your life in fear.

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