Sometimes I paint untranslatable words

Ghiqq (Persian) The sound made by a boiling kettle.

 

Each week, when I visited, I checked the bathroom for the towels

my mother had brought her the week before.

Each week, they were gone.

Her drawers and cabinets in the kitchen, empty–

except for the few cans my mother had just brought her

and the used tea bags she was saving

to put in the compost, once the ice outside her backdoor

melted, and a path could be shoveled through the snow.

Each week, she pretended that everything was okay.

Put the kettle on to make tea, like she had always done

for me. I was going to make you a rhubarb cake, she tells me

but then I realized I was fresh out of eggs.

We both watch the birds at the feeder

outside her window, mostly sparows and juncos

hardy birds, small enough to cup in my hand.

I don’t like to brag, but I get the most birds at my feeder.

Its because I sing for them when you’re not here, she tells me.

Birds are in your family. You should invite them in. 

 

 

jks

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