‘What Mama Said’

Find your way, figure it out
Mama said all the time.
Forgive the forger, forget the fortune,
Mama says,
To drink water all the time.
Quiets dry mouths.
And opens cramped and crooked faces.

When mama went out to play
And work a creative night
Then the fortune wasn’t needed.
But I cry now for a fountain to wash my feet in
And water to clear my throat.

Homelessness is out
And her son is there with him.
But mama
I couldn’t ask for a nickel from.
Nor a place to stay.
Any food to eat?
Throw some shirts in a washing machine?

A stranger may slip a soup towards me,
Slide coins, cash and cradling currency at my feet.
But mama says,
Find your way, figure it out.
So dusty, the dogged homeless
Cuts his money in half.
A quarter handed to me
Is one for food and one for home.

I, asleep on a wooden bench.
I know all the benches,
I know their shapes.
I know the right curvatures.
I see them all the time.
I know mama would see them too.

Mama says I should drink more water
But my neck is dying
And the water is far away
And that spot has always held me the best.
Positioned immediate, I stay for the night and forgo a drink.

-Trevin Corsiglia, class of 2018