She Was All We Knew c. 1968

The seventh day was for God and civilizing children—weekly dressed in suits, clip-on ties, church dresses and polished shoes.

On the Sabbath, we carried Bibles we could hardly understand committing verses to memory for life’s challenges to come.

Mother spent the other six days working as a domestic and nights working the 11-to-7 shift at the nursing home on the hill.

Long before we were old enough to be left home alone, she did it to keep the roof floating above our heads

and called on angels to be our invisible sitters as she threaten us to stay in our beds until she returned. We mostly feared her

and obeyed. She rose from never enough sleep in summer and went out in the rain and came home

through the blinding winter storms, the snow ice-blue in the early morning light, when there was no bus or taxi—

only her high boots and will to get back to us. We were her children and we knew the surety of no other world.