“a eulogy for momma” by John Gunn

everyday I saw momma wake up at 5:45

pa sat for toast at 6

and she’d iron her black & white uniform

in only the way she could

lips pressed-

toes curled-

bangs perfectly straight-

she wouldn’t come home until midnight



and I miss[ed] momma



sneeze. Sniffle-a-choo.

Mommas bones became brittle

her smile faded

her eyes depened

& she knew.


The minutes passed by faster-

when she could sit up

but slower when blood poured from her mouth

tubes were in and out of her unmentionables.


And pa sat by her till midnight


& then momma was no more.


pa comes out his room-

every morning for toast-

at 5:45 now

and i wonder

what those extra 15 minutes were for

when momma was still here