Mother and Son

The door opened and they
Stepped into the sun,
She a cheerful skeleton
Clinging to the rudder of his arm.

I am sixty-five, he said to a sparrow passing by.
My mother, here, is ninety-one.
This morning I helped her with her bath,
Carried her down the steps and past the lawn.

The sparrow tweeted in reply,
Looped toward a nearby power line.

Around them, pumpkins and a field of corn,
Melons, apples, gourds, an ancient wooden trailer
With buckets of bright chrysanthemums.

A sea of smiling people parted in their wake.
She wore her share of powder, he a feathered hat.
No one knew their names or cared,
Their presence was enough.
We are here today, my friends,
She my mother, I her faithful, lumpy son.
I will eat the apples in our bag,
She will eat the cider doughnuts
With her evening cup of tea.
Then I�ll doze beside her in my chair,
And she�ll be watching me,
Remembering quilts and world wars
Until I suddenly drift awake.

Time to turn off the light, dear one.
Time to clean your straight white teeth.

October 6, 2005

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