I am uphill from the picnic,
watching the clan, when my
late mother hands me a cupcake.
It’s good to see you, Mom,
but shouldn’t we tell the others?
She presses a chih to the
side of her cheek, a
puff of steam.
Look at them, they’re doing so
well, I wouldn’t want to
make a fuss.
But I don’t get how this
happened. Why aren’t you dead?
I don’t understand it myself.
But it’s sure nice to see everyone.
I don’t know. I feel sort of guilty.
She traces a hand on the
side of my temple.
I think you were born thirty years old.
A dog barks.
Our labrador sits on his rug
like a Sphinx, his gaze fixed on
the door. At the end of an hour,
my landlady’s absence has
pushed his whining into birdsong.
From the collection Fields of Satchmo
Photo by MJV