nearing ninety winds the old clock
pulling the chains dangling
from the wooden case.
Time stored in her flesh and bones
seeps through her hands.
I listen to each shallow breath,
feel the faint trembling of her arm
tucked into the curve of mine,
as we climb the last steep hill to the store
on those muted winter days
which follow each other like dull pearls
strung on the thread of life.
The late afternoon sun casts
our thin shapes among the
shadows of birches and pines
coated with hoarfrost.
In the coffee shop she softens bites of
crusty bread and dips them into hot chocolate.
A drop falls on the face of Madonna
staring blue-eyed and beige from the
cover of Mademoiselle.
At dusk the waitress switches on the light.
My mother’s face,
white as a moon,
refracts from the window-pane.
I peer past her into the growing
It’s not death I fear,
I am afraid of being the last one alive.