Two Poems by Jean Perry Philpott

My Mother Aged

Yes. Worry had caught her face
years ago with fine lines around her lips
creases shooting from the corner of her eyes
and cutting into her cheeks' soft, easy flesh.
She did not age then, nor when she worked two jobs
and slept four hours each day
and not when my sister spent years in the psyche ward.
My mother didn't age when her joints were too sore to hold a hand-sander
or when she stripped down to her bra during dessert one evening.
(It was her menopause in her house with her family.
For God's sake, everyone knows women wear bras.)
I don't even think she aged when she couldn't climb
the gym stairs to watch my son play J.V. basketball.
She aged last night. Just before dinner,
I saw her alone staring out the kitchen window
at our small town's street lamps
catching the secrets of Minnesotan snow.

Robert Downey Jr. Has Cracked my Heart

Addict. Addicts run in my family. Dairy farmers,
doctors, electricians, lawyers, plumbers, you name them.
All of them are addicts. Anorexia, sex, coke,
kegs, heroin. Three of my uncles can finish
a keg on this Easter afternoon while my cousins
and I fly a kite in the dead East pasture. Robert. Robert,
he has cracked my heart. His characters are thick, like
kisses. Each one I could tongue like the first boy who touched
my breast under my bra in the dark without a moon glowing.
But, Robert wearing a pair of Levis without a
character in mind would be down at the keg, kicking stones,
remembering relatives when they were alive enough
to drink with the rest of them. My cousins and I trip
over frozen ruts made by cows wanting to be milked,
but sold off by the bank long ago.

Jean Perry Philpott