She had sex in the afternoon. Habit kept
order, swept the floors, ironed the pillowcases,
kept the light on and made her death little by little.
My mother kept her cup of gin nearby.
Five carbon copies on thin-skinned
onion paper, with her old Olivetti
listening to Louie Armstrong─
She typed late night love epistles.
Come on, give me umbrella wings and let me strut
down Bourbon Street, she hummed along.
Her smoker’s smile turns toward the fading blaze
waiting for her children. Oh, when the saints
go marching, let them love her gin-puffed face.
She’s a woman asleep, the light over a child’s crib.
Don’t wake her from the photograph.
Cheryl Heineman graduated in 2017 with a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from San Diego State University. She also has a master’s degree in Jungian Psychology and has published three collections of poetry: Just Getting Started, something to hold onto, and It’s Easy to Kiss a Stranger on a Moving Train.