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Lisa M. Zaran


Waiting by the tool shed,
this patternless boy. Not
for me, but for my daughter.

There is so much at stake.
I watch her closely in an indirect
way as she becomes suddenly
helpful, her arms, elbow deep
in dish water. I am busy snapping
lids atop leftovers.

"Mom?" She says, grey oval eyes upon me.
"Um, nevermind."

It's painful, the sound she makes
fumbling for an excuse to stay up late.

I, on the other hand, have grown patient
with age and take down a pile of shirts
from the shelf above the washing machine.
Settling in, I thread needles, match buttons,
and make little x's and o's through each button hole.

"Aren't you tired?" She yawns.

"Hmmm?" I reply, absorbed in stitching.

"Nevermind." She grumbles, yawns again.

I hide my red rimmed eyes behind glasses,
stifle my own yawns with humming until finally
she gives in and trudges up the stairs. Floor-
boards creak above me. Waver, creak, waver,

For one more night she's still my little girl.

I sew another button securely into place.


He used to set me
in his lap
because I was small
and could fit.

He used to read me
stories from a great
red book
because I was small
and craved adventure.

He used to cook me
rice with chicken
because I was small
and hungry.

And then I grew up
and went away.

I used to cook him
potatoes, which I'd mash,
because he was sick
and couldn't stomach much else.

I used to read him
poetry I had written
because he was sick
and this made him proud.

I used to set myself
beside him and hold his hand
because he was sick
and going soon.

And then he forgot
to stay, so didn't.

Copyright 2000 by Lisa M. Zaran

Contributor's Note