Mother was clearly unwell. I had noticed how
sallow she’d become, but I said nothing. It would
have been improper to comment. Mother’s hair
was getting thin and dry. I supposed she was
ageing. Her face was always puffy and dark baggy
rings were etched under her eyes. Father belly-
ached all the time, and I supposed this was
wearing Mother down. When we sat down to
breakfast in brittle silence, I could hear Mother
wheezing hoarsely. She was thin as a skeleton
and pecked like a bird at her peppered food.
I rushed my meal and bolted out the door to ride
to school. It was impossible to imagine my parent
was ill. I cast the thought away, and pumped on
my pedals.


Author: Robert James Berry

Poet & Novelist