Flaubert Eats Breakfast with His Mom

by Bill Yarrow

they were sitting                       at the breakfast table
waiting for more toast            when she looked
up at him and said                    your mania for sentences

has dried up your heart
        that's not true mother
louise did that                            and gout and the middle
class you're just upset            my fruit bowl is empty
come my darling                       let's take a walk in the garden
and water the desert               of my heart the future may
surprise us yet                           gustave my sun my star

you're incorrigible
                  yes mother I am but
give me your arm                     the eggs will have to wait
look the sun is bleeding         on the flowers the clouds—
soft guardians of virtue—     they will protect us
God is out walking                    his dog as over us
white bees hover                       like angels of clotted milk