The Mary Camarillo Exhibit

About Her Exhibit…

I write to understand my world. This poem is about my mother who died in April of 2019. There is so much I wish I would have asked her.

She would be thrilled about my debut novel, “The Lockhart Women”, which will be published in June of 2021 by She Writes Press. The novel is dedicated to my mother but is not about her at all.

It’s about Brenda Lockhart, whose husband announces on the night of the OJ Simpson slow speed chase through Los Angeles that he’s leaving her for an older and less attractive woman.

Brenda sits down in front of her television and gets hooked on the media frenzy surrounding the trial. She’s convinced Simpson is innocent.

Her two teenage daughters are busy making their own bad decisions about lovers and crime.

The Bath

A poem by Mary Camarillo

My mother weighs her age,

ninety-five pounds. She lets me

wash between her breasts,

her voice soft and southern.

She never nursed me–another

place to lay the blame–a mother’s

fault how children turn out.

She lifts arthritic fingers,

drips water down my blouse,

silk-screened with Frida’s face.

She doesn’t understand

the attraction. I don’t ask

who she means. She believes

my husband is Spanish,

because of his aristocratic nose.

He painted our garden walls

cobalt blue, number 6965.

Just like Frida, I can’t have children

and never pluck my eyebrows.

I wonder if I could lie in bed

with a fractured spine and illustrate

the exact depth and width of pain.

Don’t be so rough, my mother says

her skin bruises. I rinse her hair

and wish she’d had another daughter.

Her hand trembles as she traces

circles in my palm, digging in deeper,

opening my skin, reclaiming her blood.

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