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April 2013, vol 9, no 1

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Glenn Coats

Bone China

My mother is shrinking like a spring creek in summer. She is thin and brittle, her robe looks heavy on her shoulders, steps are measured and slow. Careful as she slides plates into the dishwasher. “They must never touch,” she says. The vacuum cleaner weighs too much to carry up the steps. “I was strong,” my mother says. “I was Bone Crusher.” The birdbath lies on its side outside her kitchen window. My mother is no longer allowed to spread seed for the birds. The association claims the food draws rats and deer. Mother no longer drives in the dark or paints pictures down in the basement. “Never enough time,” she says.

In order to see above the steering wheel, she sits on a pillow. A light clicks on automatically when my mother presses a button to open up the garage door. She looks a long time in the rearview mirror, garage walls are close, imposing, and not so easy to navigate.

mother remembers
her black hair
nesting birds

she asks
would I know them now?