On Entering My Mother’s House after Her Death

Oh, queen of neatness, what a stunning mess
you’ve made of all these counters, nooks, and drawers!
Once, with dustbin brandished, you’d obsess
about this realm you still presumed was yours
as age’s rigors wrestled you away.
Now pill bottles cluster thuglike, salt grains strew
the shelves, and half the home’s in disarray
with notes in duplicate on what to do.

You throttled our whole family with your law
throughout the years, but look: today it’s me
who stops to fold each towel, smooth each “flaw,”
the likes of which once stirred my sympathy.
Who now, if not myself, will set things straight?
It’s six: I place a mat beneath my plate.

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