would noodle them on the gas stove
in the thick of winter, the velvet sky one
frame. Father emptied
the money and even took the light bulbs,
mother with only a shelf of cellophane.
Nights skipped twilight. The icicled pipes whined.
day, mother and I walked grocery stores
for warmth, pocketed napkins and salt packets.
noodles were so delicate and clear
they could be harpsichords of tears.
ate them like a dutiful daughter while
I watched mother try to swallow.
mated pairs of swallows often
lingered. To this day I’m not sure
my mother found the swallows or
the mimicry of mockingbirds the worst.