Cleaning out Mother’s House

We found the chipped

ceramic dish in a cupboard,

relic of the ordinary

dailiness of her housewife’s

life, the elegant arc

of her wrist, her palm

when she scored

a tomato, split the skin

and slipped the sweet,

fecund innards into

the white bowl, the bowl

she’d painted and fired

long before she’d had a child—

its dark, summer cherries

pressed like nipples, like finger

paint thumbprints across

the gloss, relieved now and then

with a spatter of green slap-

dashed across the chasm

like a smile, and we squalled—

a fracturing rivalry—to claim it. 

Mary Beth Hines is a Massachusetts-based writer following a career as a communications and outreach program manager. Her poetry, short fiction and non-fiction appear in journals such as Brilliant Flash Fiction, Crab Orchard Review, Literary Mama,  Madcap Review, and SWWIM among many others. Her first full-length poetry collection, Winter at a Summer House, is forthcoming from Kelsay Books in late 2021.