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Communing with Mama

8/25/1997, published in Sept. 2001,

· Sitting with Mama
· Maria
· Nine Crossings
· Mama and Her

· Fallopian Chron IV
· Why I Toast, I
· Why I Toast, II
· Why I Toast, III
· Scooter/Dot-Com
· Fallopian Chron II
· Fallopian Chron III
· Strange Bedfellow
· Almost Equal
· A Difficult Day
· Phantom Lover:
    Ode to
    Leslie Cheung

· I Am Salad
· Fallopian Chron I
· Taiwanglish
· Childhood's End
· Psychic Friends
· Life in the
    Time of SARS

· Waiting for
      the Goddess

· Roswell My Eye
· Catisfaction
· My Laramie Project
· Stopping on the
    Street for
    Coltrane: A Real
    Latter Day Saint

· Whither Moocat?
· Happy Palindrome!
· Happy Tiger
· Tourist for a Day
· Geography
    as Destiny

· "Bastards"
· Watching the
    Pentagon Burn

· Communing with

· Milk
· Infinity
· Emailing the Dead
· Broken Water
· Sand Shark
· Grandma Said
· Golden Days
· Americat
· Moe Howard on the
Death of His Brother,

· Flashpoems
· Minyan
· Inside Scoop
· Nativity
· I Ask My Mother
To Sing

· Absence of Colours
· Island Logic
· Peepshow Kleenex
· Allen Ginsberg
Forgives Ezra Pound
on Behalf of the Jews

· Lacing Your Shoes:
Haiku & the Everyday

· Four Haiku
· Smoking Haiku
· Geary & Jones,
Monday, 8:23 a.m.

· The Keeper
· december 13, 2001
· Memento Mori
· Football's Birthday
· The Edward Gorey

· Arrival
· Victim o'

· The Origin of
Teeth and Bones

· Questions for
Martins Ferry,

· This Is Just
To Tell You

· Not-Cat (& whatnot)
· To My Unmet Wife

· Englishhua
· Dave for Pope
· Papa Loves Mambo
· A Culture Report

· The Louisiana
A Special Radio X
Historical Docudrama

· Krawkawkaw Gives
a Little

· Meet Dr. Klaww
· Letters to Dr. Klaww
· Letter from the
Hall of Justice

· An Invitation
to be Keynote

· More

All Things

· Gajandra Meets
    the Scatoman

· Gajandra and
    the Curse of the
    Six Monkeys

· Gajandra and the
    Eating Lesson

· A Moment of

· Gajandra and the
    Great Rumble

· Gajandra and the
    Problem with

· Mohamed Tahdaini
· John Guillory
· Berkeley Pier
· Bruce Dene
· Death of The Bayou
· Taiwan Food Vendors
· John Freeman
· Robin Liu
· Hector
· Dave's Corner
· Zuni Kachinas

· Mainland Murmurs
· Next to Heaven
  · Episode #8

  · Episode #16
· Crosswords Brunch


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All these days at home, with the bright sunlight from three directions and the wind billowing, at times slamming shut the bathroom door and setting to sputter the dust bunnies who've escaped my Hoover's suck set me to thinking on how Mama did it — stayed at home, I mean, with the laundry, and the kitchen, and the cleaning of surfaces. My Mama moment came while ironing on the fold-down ironing board my fourth or fifth shirt. All day I'd been productive, fixing the closet door that wouldn't stay shut, gradually unpacking more of my boxes, throwing out box carcasses, and of course, engaging in the cleaning of plates and floors and bathroom ceramic. What kind of life, this wifery?

Her days were vastly different of course, with the many kids and kid-related chores, the overseas-employed husband, the parents down the street and the obligation of an almost-daily visit: Honour thy father and thy mother. Here, I've no children, no pets, only the faintest glimmer of possible future husband, two o'clock sweat, mirror-visible waist fat, no propensity for bearing children of my own, and a one-bedroom hardwood-floored apartment, third floor up, in Lake Merritt, Oakland, California, where, I understand, lots of gays are moving in, because the rents are so much cheaper than San Fran, and, hey, it's just across the Bay Bridge.

At one or two or three I climb the filthy green stairwell behind the building to spend some time on the roof. Someone's established a weight-bench there, with accompanying weather-proof dumbbell box. I try to bench-press, but the barbell is hung on safety catches just outside my reach. The roof next door has a clothesline, alive with wind-filled laundry. It sags from one little roof-room to the other. I try the door of the little roof-room on my own building and steal a view of the 1940s engine that still pulls the cables to our rickety, caged elevator. Descending the stairwell, I notice that Dominic's building has solar power panels on its roof.

Back inside I pad about in bare feet, accumulating a leather sole of soil before committing to sit on the tub, run the warm water, and brush those dogs clean with my little aquamarine hand-brush. Then tamping on gray floor-towel, then drying of the lower legs, then socks, clean socks for now, to go about again conveying in the Asian Way, leaving the shoes at the door, for the outside world, where cars congregate and shout late afternoons, homeless people curse and shoot their rage in any available direction, where all of the things in this apartment once came from, deals are made, careers destroyed, engines combust internally and poison externally in doing their tough job of shuttling passengers from meeting to gas station to Safeway to Jiffy Lube: all those little secrets out there, somewhere, in the land of the missing husbands.

— David Saia

David Saia edits His work has been published and produced in several venues, including The Daily Reveille, The Culture Report, New Delta Review, and the now-defunct San Francisco Review.

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