The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Robbie Gamble



Mondays and Thursdays she rode the streetcar
out from Roxbury to clean our wide-winged house.
Long afternoons, the drone of the vacuum

pushing past closed bedroom doors where we
boys were sent for “quiet time” while Mummy
rested or did her grownup things. We hunkered down

on hardwood floors, made barricades from building blocks
until the hour Mister Rogers soothed,
I like you just the way you are.

Alberta’s worn scuffs on the stairs, her solemn
scrubbing, the steady return of tidiness. I didn’t realize
it was mopwater she dumped in the toilet—

for years I thought the Negroes peed in gray.




ROBBIE GAMBLE recently completed an MFA in Poetry at Lesley University. He has had poems appear in Main Street Rag, The Christian Science Monitor, Modern Haiku, Ibbetson Street and other publications. He works as a nurse practitioner caring for homeless people in Boston, Massachusetts.



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