You Remind Me of You.

you remind me of youShe Remembers the Tearful Farewell Scene
By Eireann Corrigan

For weeks now, my mother has been stacking linens
and sweaters in piles on the sofa. I’ve gained
eighteen pounds in the past two months and the small
square refrigerator already sits in the car’s trunk,
smugly. But the surgeons have just reopened
your stitches and I don’t know how to tell you
I’m leaving for college. If you had a bowl
of porridge cooling on the nightstand, I’d think
we were on the set of a play about the infirmary
of a boarding school. Cots of abandoned
boys and their terse and hurried nurses.

I miss your old room with the guitar
in the corner, the curtain I could tug
around us for privacy. They’ve shaved
the top of your head again and the staples
are back in place along your scalp.
And I tell you like it’s no big deal. I’ll just
see you on weekends and you grab
a hank of hair and yank my face closer,
then remember to be gentle and pet
me a little, sighing College Girl.

When I ask you for advice, I mean
I promise not to baffle my brain
with acid like you. I promise to come home
intact. Your whole mouth works to form
the words you want before you manage
to pronouce: egg crate. And then louder:
egg crate. Again, agitated — egg crate. It takes
the sternest nurse to settle you back against the sheets,
to explain you mean the orthopedic foam between
the mattress and your back. She says
You can pick one up at Caldors. Looks down
at you and adds He’s been sleeping much better
with his. And you tug a few strands of my hair
again, nodding triumphantly. And I say Sure
thing. And I tell you Good-bye.

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