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The first sign was your hair, un-straightened, shortened from worry,
and it had only been a year since the wedding, but you had grown older, Mama.
I felt your usual care in the mustard greens, sweet potatoes and chicken, yet you smelled of whiskey and prayer.
I showed you the pictures, asked which you’d like remade and watched you fidget, unable to see them.
Raising your arm, you spoke of your rheumatism, it seems life left your arm first, like crumbs given to front-yard robins.
Age and need, those simple weeds, were gathering around and taking you away….
Reprinted by permission oflearn more
She stood hanging wash before the sun
and occasionally watched the kids
gather acorns from the trees,
and when her husband came,
complaining about the tobacco spit on him they decided to run North.