A Presentable Home

My mother’s house is not ready for guests.
She would rather drive across three bridges,
park in a no-parking zone near the Hudson
with half-done hair and a wrinkled dress
than open her front door for guests.

If you’re smart enough
and you value your life
you make a reservation.
So that my mother can wake up at dawn
with a rancid mop and her wrinkled dress
to hide all of our flaws under a floorboard
and yell and rush and slam dishes into submission
so that our house is finally fit for living.
Until we no longer have guests to impress.
Until it’s just us, so why bother.

Why even bother
to provide peace to the undeserving.

Sometimes I wonder why
my heart races when I have too many emails
my text messages stay left on read
my brain will not allow a quick response,
no matter how simple,
how quick, how easy.
Why I refuse to open my front door.

And then I remember.
My mother’s house was never ready for guests.

Camille Gomera-Tavarez is an Afro-Dominican writer, designer, and creative from New Jersey. She has a BFA in Graphic Design & Creative Writing from the Maryland Institute College of Art and is currently based in Philadelphia, PA. Her work can be found in Full Bleed MagazineGenre Urban ArtsBig Cartel Blog, and Plantin Magazine, which she founded. Her debut short story anthology, High Spirits, was published by Levine Querido & Chronicle Books in April 2022.