all she wanted was an education to
match her intelligence so words like
tangible and holocaust might have deeper
meaning. he used to lick two fingers and
whip back out-of-place whitened hairs. together
they chased sixty-three fading years.

there's fresh-baked bread in blue Maxwell
House cans and dust on the hearth she can't
quite reach. when i visit she conjures rhubarb
pies and tells me of all her dead sisters. we
visit him at the mausoleum and she adjusts
trifocals to read the inscription she must
already know.

she tells me we raise our kids too fast and
then retire to ever-coveted flower gardens
and condominium coin-operated laundry in
salamander land. we pass down knitting needles
and suffer for our children when they can
no longer walk. we carry our statistics.
we bleed more the older we get.