Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Fuel

No comments

"Breakfast is brain fuel,"
my father would announce
over the KYW news station
that crackled with static
on the window sill.
At our assigned seats at the table
we'd too give poor reception --
slumped like students
through a lesson, a drill:
cold cereal again;
my father in that plaid bathrobe
he'd wear like a uniform,
handing out plain white bowls
like sheets of paper,
monitoring our progress
as we'd fill them up --
taking in more fuel for arithmetic,
another listless excursion
in Sister Bonaventure's geography class.

And later, fuel for history
as I pass down
spoons and cereal bowls,
distributing them to my own children,
who accept them grudgingly,
like something they'll be tested on;
standing in each morning
like a proctor for my father:
me, the unwitting graduate
who's learned equations
enough to supply the basics,
setting out brands of cereal
like a core curriculum--
fulfilling assignments,
love's requisites, routines.


Joseph Chelius is a parent to a set of sophomores: a daughter in college and a son in high school. His work has appeared most recently in Christianity and Literature, Blue Unicorn, Spitball, and Drexel Online Journal.


More from



Comments are now closed for this piece.