This is America

“I’ll take you to the grocer’s,” my mother said,
and took me to the supermarket.
She led me to the shelf
where each loaf of bread
was cocooned in its plastic wrapping.

When no one was watching
she gave a loaf a punch
worthy of Sonny Liston.
As the Wonder Bread reinflated
she said, “This is America.”

My mother missed
driving her Morris Minor
to the long list of calls,
going to each patient’s house
to prod, palpate and listen.

She hadn’t wanted to leave,
but had followed my father
across the Atlantic Ocean
so he could start
his fine new job.

That summer, she clung to me
like a piece of Saran Wrap
that catches on itself.
All I wanted
was to visit California.