lines in the carpet

my mom didn’t give me a lot of relationship advice

she always hugged my father tight and gave him chaste kisses each night in front of us

she was impatient when he’d say he’d be home by 7:00 and arrive around 7:30

but she taught us how to wait 

we always waited to eat as a family unit

no matter how cold those boxed potatoes would get

we waited.

she did say that when you saw that there were vacuum cleaner lines on the rug

you should mention how great the place looked

all cleaned up

she did say that when they get a hair cut

you should tell them how great their hair looks

shorter, cleaner

make sure you notice the details 

but do nothing about the obvious 

gradually the stacks of junk mail on counter appear

envelopes unopened while everyone knew there was nothing important inside 

but they waited, patiently

to be opened before carelessly discarded or shred

those envelopes 

were always in the way when we wanted to make cookies

we would just move the stacks to another location 

until we ate the cookies

the stacks would move back 

return to sender, returned to where they lived. 

her advice was to notice the details

her actions were to move the stacks instead of getting rid of them

impatiently

waiting, like those damn envelopes.. 

that is the foundation of my relationships

impatient waiting.

i notice the lines in the rug

because i am the one who created them.

i notice my haircut

twice a year 5 inches are removed and the white streak down the center of my head disappears into bright red

patiently i wait with the henna on my head for no one to notice the difference 

self love is the noticing while dismissing the voice in my head seeking outside approval 

self love is discarding the junk mail as it enters my place 

the stacks don’t accumulate, but my grays do. 

here my home 

it is waiting for a partner.

its clean counters.

books lined up for us to read together.

they’re impatiently waiting.

i will read them before you arrive

so i can know the content and stories

so you can’t see the cracks

in my knowledge

in my memory. 

when my mom visits

she doesn’t notice the lines in the carpet

or that my grays aren’t as noticeable as hers are

she notices that I am alone lonely independent.

her advice is only to do things that make me happy.

the mail doesn’t pile up here

that must be happiness.

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