American Mother

The phone rings. Automated call trying to sell me a cemetery plot.


The procurement form is due today and my aunt fell and broke her collarbone. I

must get some soy sauce and salsa for the week. The kid texts me a little heart. I

am about to text him back but the dog is whining to be let out and as I am waiting

for the dog to come in, I’m thinking about freedom and what it means to me

(the name of the essay my daughter is supposed to write for school). I’m distracted

and thinking about sex and how sex is part of freedom, and if only I had time

to read again, if only I lost ten pounds and this damn cough would clear up. I

see the ragged petunias I got for $1.99 at the grocery which really should get into

the ground. What does freedom mean to me–did the kid finish that mandatory

essay finally? I ought to call Bryan about that procurement form before he’s off

work and I forgot to defrost the taco meat and Dan is supposed to be coming

home early bzzt that’s the dryer.


Phone rings. Automated call trying to sell me a cemetery plot.

Elsa Bell

ELSA BELL earned an MFA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has published poems in several small literary journals. She is also a co-author of Dada and Surrealism for Beginners. She’s published work in The Cape Rock, California Poetry Quarterly, and, most recently, Midwest Review.

Contributions by Elsa Bell