Cornbread

by Wren Tuatha

Cotton takes care of me.
I mend and wonder where
a word went as Cotton hops
out of bed, feeds the herd,
showers. I’m late with his
coffee. I have one job as he
capers around, clipboards
and clients’ keys, leash
and a dog to walk.

My hours pass in turns of
whiplash and molasses.
I’m glad he’s at work,
not watching. We both recall
when I was brilliant.
He soldiers and I try.
Who takes care of Cotton?

He’s aged out of his market.
Once six figures, now Cotton
cleans houses. Five today,
done at six. Home at seven
with rags to wash and stories.
Spreadsheets and payroll.
Menu ideas and shopping lists.
Leash and a dog to walk.
Cotton cares into the void.
Tonight he’ll make cornbread.