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Jun 2018
My mother kept a singing bird, just for herself
In the kitchen
By the door
In a cage.

She fed it herself
and talked to it
at 68.
What woman speaks to a bird,
perhaps one who knows
and understands.

All the peaks and trills,
the notes of song
she heard.
She knew its moods
and tunes, she sang along.
Their ritual of conversing
while washing up
and dry with dishcloth
or cooking
or baking her special recipe
apple pie.

Every night, she covered the cage
with a blanket
to keep warm the singing bird and
so the kitchen light would
not disturb
and in the morning,
she took it off again.

Then with silence broken
by welcome twitter,
she would tell
her grey and black wonder
of her plans whilst at chores.
When at elevenses,
she sat near the door
with hot tea and cookie,
she'd offer crumbs
stare ahead, a dreamy smile.

One day the bird died
and into her dishcloth,
she cried.
(For Jubilene, b. 1921)
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