Make a Wish
I visit my mother in the nursing home.
Today is my 56th birthday and I have outlived
Jesus, outlasted my father who’s heart
knocked to a stop like a junkyard car.
Mother bites her lips, bides time,
writes me morbid letters telling how
her oldest friends have passed away.
She uses too many lights,
feels the absence of each bulb’s heat.
She fears being left behind,
crawls into a second childhood
like a tight and tidy closet.
Fear hides when visitors come to see her.
She touches it with a slippered foot—
a growling dog that won’t be still,
an imaginary friend
pinching her leg beneath the table.
In sleep you move
under the covers like a river slipping
A dream touches your lip,
the wind stirring a leaf.