Once A Day
by Lane Mochow
Once A Day
when I was little,
we left the house once a day:
the gas station on the corner for diet coke,
the mall for making up stories
about what the teenagers
meant by their foreign lingo.
the grocery store for bagels, black beans, burritos.
the restaurant for filling long-gurgling stomachs
egg rolls, dollar burgers, ice water with lemon.
the greenway to name edible plants
in case the economy collapsed and I
a lone child without moccasins, turquoise, teepees
(as i imagined my ancestors had)
were left to collect watercress,
pick the leaves from dandelions,
dig up sassafras root with my nimble fingers.
the bank to wear my nicest ankle length skirt
to stand behind her in silence
as mommy cashed her check
stuffing the cash in her billfold
as though her life depended on it
i never noticed the knowing look in the cashier's eye,
the wag of his buzz cut at our arrival,
the wipe of her minimum wage saltwater,
when mommy's beaded braids
the ever-present rustling of a brooding hurricane
came upon the horizon.
mommy's rage would white knuckle grip
their great black oaks at the trunk,
plead into Jesus' dime per minute payphone
they drown in a clawfoot of their own blood.
"Say amen! Say amen! Say amen!"
Lane Mochow is the author of the chapbook, "Ink." He won first place in the 2018 Tennessee Magazine Poet's Playground in the 19-22 category. He has contributed poetry reviews at Sacred Chickens.