Atlas In An Apron
Minnetonka, Minnesota, USA
Minnetonka High School
Atlas In An Apron
Sometimes I wonder who my mother is without
the worry lines on her forehead. If she didn’t
bite her nails to the point of permanent
scars. Who is my mother if not
a skipped breakfast, skipped lunch. The one
who comes home saying, I have
not eaten all day. Who attacks
the box of chocolates from the snack
cabinet. A mouthful of need
for peace, a sweet morsel to fill the gaps
between Zoom calls. A breath before
resumes. What is her being, if not
the house itself, footsteps in sync with
slammed kitchen drawers. The inevitable crash of
pans and burned scones, the soup at the rumbling
stove. She exclaims when it quiets at last. My mother is
the sigh that muffles the scream and whispers carry on.
A self-humoring refrain of where did I put my
glasses. She is a language, gliding past syllables, stumbling
through consonants in a feat of charades. I have never met
another immigrant who speaks
Bulgaro-Spanglish. Her accent another stone
she must carry, polished in her mouth by the roll
of her tongue but never losing its weight.
Who would Atlas be without
the world on his shoulders?
If he shrugged off his staggering
burden, would we even recognize
“Atlas In An Apron” invokes the classic Greek myth to compose a tenderly intimate portrait of motherhood and self-sacrifice. Gracefully coupling chaos and quiet, pain and perseverance, the poem inspires reverence for everyday heroes — those who go unseen, unsung.
Aileen is a poet from Minnesota, USA. She has been a storyteller for as long as she can remember. Through her poetry, Aileen highlights everyday events, existentialism, and everything that slips through the cracks. Her work has been published in Questioz and Skipping Stones Multicultural Magazine, as well as recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR