My Mom Texts Me for the Millionth Time

By José Olivarez

the phone vibrates/ my mom buzzes my desk/ her love reaches me/ wherever I am/ which is usually/ unavailable/ my mom home with my family/ minus me/ might as well/ be my name/ it’s our family’s second house/ in Calumet City/ after the first was lost/ to anachronisms/ you can find my mom/ on the couch/ her shoes off/ her bare feet/ throb with her American ache/ her work will wake her/ in a few hours/ to frame a store/ my mom’s work is turning sanitary/ into pristine/ but you already know/ my mom’s work/ by its invisibility/ my mom shopping with you/ watching you spill mountain dew/ on her floors/ my job takes me away/ from home/ so I can build a bridge back/ to the living room/ where my mom rests/ her feet/ awash in the glow/ she makes/ so effortless/ it’s impossible/ to tell the light/ comes from her own body


"My Mom Texts Me for the Millionth Time” by José Olivarez, from Citizen Illegal (Haymarket Books, 2018).