Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Screaming Her Head Off

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“Mom is screaming her head off.”
my sister in our mother’s Columbus nursing home.

Like a balloon set loose
by the air that fills it,

her head begins screaming
through the lobby,

like a smart bomb nosing
the nurses around counters

and up all the hallways
where we too used to hide:

the cubby under the sink
with the Borax and bleach

the closet that smelled
of mothballs, cedar,

the box of brown photographs,
the curtains she had hung.

My mother’s voice and its strange odor
of burnt hair and cabbage and tin,

moving now like a searchlight
teetering on the carnival wire

seeking us out, telling us
just what we have done

and left undone.


Lois Marie Harrod’s most recent publication Nightmares of the Minor Poet appears in May. Author of six poetry books and ten chapbooks, she also writes short stories. Her work has appeared in journals and online e-zines from American Poetry Review to Zone 3.


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