My Mother’s Memory

By C.G. Hanzlicek

We’re sitting on the porch at Sterling House
(Personalized Assisted Living),
And a song sparrow in the cherry tree
Bursts into his name.
“He seems happy,” she says.
“Seems is the right word,”
I say. “He’s hard at work,
Building a wall with his voice.”
As if verification is his game,
He chases two interlopers away,
And she tells for the third time in a hour
About a fight she had with her sister.
“That happened 25 years ago;
You’ve got to let go of it.”
She looks at me like I’m a registered member
Of the Know Nothing Party.
“No, no. It was just a couple of month’s ago.”
What can I say but nothing?
We’re summoned to the dining room,
And she takes a sip of coffee,
Then leans toward me and almost whispers,
“Just in case I have to introduce you to someone,
What last name do you use?”
I’m flummoxed for a moment, but then I say,
We live on separate planets now,
And she mulls and mulls,
Wanting to join me in my world,
Where sometimes I’m a son, sometimes not,
At the will of whatever wind.
Finally her face brightens, and she says,
“Oh, that’s right.
You’re mine.”

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