How to Lie to Your Mother

by Elaine White

Talk about your cats. You’re worried
the calico is getting too thin, but she
won’t eat any of the food you bought,
not even the organic one. Mention
you’re redecorating your bedroom.
You don’t have a favorite color
at the moment, so you picked blue.
You’ve spray-painted some wall hangings
and you found this paisley print sheet
at Thrift USA. You’re going to make
curtains. Everything is blue.
Say you can’t wait to visit her.

Insist on a trip to IKEA. It’s so close
and you need shelves. You don’t want
your new roommate to think
you’re a slob. Dodge the question
about group therapy. Ask her
about her health. She always
has a lot to say about it.
Try to remember which medications
have changed. There’s a list
in her purse, but still, someone should
know what she’s taking. Dad doesn’t.
Has it been thirty minutes yet?

You can’t talk for less or she’ll feel
shut out. Ask about the animals
at the shelter. Are there any new kittens?
Try to stay focused on the details
when she describes them. Make it
into a game. See how much
you remember later. Check the clock
again. Wait for her to lose
her train of thought... Pretend
you’ve just realized what time it is.
Tell her you need to get ready for work.
Say I love you. Say goodbye.

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