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Apple Doll
Mary Ellen Elias

My mother is shriveling
into an apple doll.
The life being pressed out of her,
run through the mill.
The juice of her earthly existence
sucked out slowly through a collapsible straw.

She eats prunes at night
(to move her bowels).
Is that why she's prune-fleshed?

She leans over the sink,
supported by the Comet-stained porcelain
and her metal walker,
scarfing Hood's chocolate chip ice cream
from the container--
Something she forbid me years ago.

At 87, she's entitled to break the rules.
Lunch dishes lay crusted in the sink, neglected.
Next thing you know, she'll be drinking milk from the carton
with the refrigerator door wide open.

I wish she had rebelled years ago.
F the drapes…
Vacuuming the rug in line with the nap…
Ironing the underwear and doilies
and sheets…

You can't press out the wrinkles
that crease her face now,
until eternity erases them
along with everything else.

It took a
debilitating disease to lighten her up,
just as the nails are weighing her down.

She has always carried that cross.
Now she's up there, suffering,
where she thought she should be.
Another apple doll,

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Document last modified on: 02/17/2003

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