Three Poems by Rose Oliver

An Inventory of My Mother’s Pocket

Her apron hangs on the kitchen door,
slack as a snake skin emptied of its occupant.

She is gone.
Gone to the Home
That isn’t a home.
The memory morgue.

The apron pocket gapes,
a hungry mouth.

In it I find:

3 pills she forgot to take,
Cookie crumbs,
A comb entangled with grey gossamer strands,
A brown newspaper clipping of my dad’s obituary,
A broken safety pin that failed its mission,
Her house key that opens the door
She will never enter again.

I fold the apron carefully and place it
in the cardboard box marked



Death dwells in the seed I plant.

Autumn leaves, dandelion’s ghostly globes,
so much seeks exit as it enters.

The pink sunset clouds have already vanished
and where is the rainbow now?
Magnolia blossoms become brown bowls of rot.

Anchor butterfly wings,
grasp a rose,
What remains:
Broken wings
Crushed petals
A fist full of thorns.



If the shoe fits
must you wear it?
Lucky Cinderella!
Glass slippers and
A Prince!

Cinderella’s daughters buy
Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo shoes
that break the bank
and the Achilles’ tendon.

Women’s feet are best bound,
Amputated, mutilated,
so the shoe fits.

Oh no!
Prince Charming left Cinderella!
and Cinderella is left
with hundreds of high heels
and a stiletto
lodged in her heart.


Rose Oliver is a retired psychiatric nurse and lives in Western MA. She is a frequent participant in the spoken word poetry project WordXWord. Her works have appeared in online and print journals.