West Palm Beach

by Marla Chalnick

My mother is waiting to die in her sleep.
Her brain has been scrubbed clean.
I struggle to trust this renovation.

My 90-year-old mother lives alone in
a row of condos that resemble army barracks.
She is surrounded by counters covered,
closets overstuffed, piles, boxes
leave little room for her to move about.
It’s the kind of place where middle class
New York Jews go to live with disappointment.
Looking forward to the Early Bird Specials,
they wait to die, just not yet.

Marla Chalnick is a psychotherapist in private practice. A New Yorker by birth, she moved to Asheville, North Carolina, twelve years ago with her husband. Marla is passionate about her family, rescue dogs, and writing. Poetry is her vehicle for exploring relationships. With the help of gifted teachers at the Great Smokies Writing Program, Marla continues to find new ways of expressing herself.

About West Palm Beach—This piece is part of a series of poems about families of origin.