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Winter Noodles

Mother made them after father left.
Served plain, boiled with only water.

She would noodle them on the gas stove
in the thick of winter, the velvet sky one

off-centered frame. Father emptied
the money and even took the light bulbs,

left mother with only a shelf of cellophane.
Nights skipped twilight. The icicled pipes whined.

By day, mother and I walked grocery stores
for warmth, pocketed napkins and salt packets.

The noodles were so delicate and clear
they could be harpsichords of tears.

I ate them like a dutiful daughter while
I watched mother try to swallow.

Outside, mated pairs of swallows often
lingered. To this day I’m not sure

if my mother found the swallows or
the mimicry of mockingbirds the worst.

Posted 11/30/15
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