Mother mine, I have washed down
The turtles, your precious stones,
Smoked, touched dirt, painted Toby brown.
I have ignored the door and answered no phones.

I have had a filthy mind, destroyed my trains,
Seized Howard.  I threw wet paper from the window,
Ruined your bedspread with stains
From Howard.  I opened your letters and know

Everything. I did not eat.
I have burned my hand, burned Toby, told lies, have stolen
Something from your desk, lost your keys,
And danced in the piano.  Ah, I made my eye swollen.

Mother, I heaved up on the glasses, ran
In the Green Room, scuffed the floor.
I ran frankfurters through the fan.
Oh, haven’t I gone and spit, waged war?

               -- published in The New Yorker, November 27, 1965

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