I peer beneath your bed for teeth and find slippers stinking of old piss.
Half-eaten cookie, wadded tissues, melted tube of Coral Sunset.
There— fragment of your smile, crescent of tombstones on a pink hill.
That’s not possible, you say. How to help you
make sense of a world where things appear and disappear so
randomly. Guess the tooth fairy didn’t want them.
Your eyes gleam. Wind wakes leaves and litter in a gray tunnel.
Your cousin’s red hair: flame in the cornfield.
Hydrangeas blushing hyacinth in a lost summer. Long ago,
your whole house burned to the ground.
I fold stained slippers into the trash, rush out to buy two new pairs.
But your right foot is swollen as a sausage, drags
when you walk and knocks the slipper off. My flight is due.
You lean on the doorframe, smiling: See you tomorrow. In two months, Ma,
two months. I’ll mail more slippers. I imagine shoeboxes
arriving from the blue, the way you’ll cock your head
as the aid lifts them for you to see. Ancient chickadee.
Wave. It was lovely to see you, as though we’re old friends, met for lunch.
I become another thing that has appeared, disappeared.
Published in Mom Egg Review, 2018 Vol. 16
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