offering 1

By Tamara Madison

Outside my kitchen window
a liquidambar balances in leafy
arabesque, a jacaranda drops
its sticky-siren blossoms
onto the lawn and birds dance
on the grass beneath a redwood tree.
What a beautiful view! She says
again. I agree, tell her I am glad
that I don’t have to take care
of it myself. Moments pass, we sip
our coffee and then, looking out
the window as if for the first time
she says it again: What a beautiful
view! She notices the view
every two minutes for at least
an hour, each time as delighted
as the time before.

One weekend she keeps saying,
How did you two meet? We tell
the story time and again, she listens
with interest, asks questions
for clarification, moments pass
and then she asks again,
How did you two meet?
Another time her question is, When are you
getting married? She asks it
And asks it, he doesn’t know what
to tell her. Tell her we already
did, I suggest later, ask her,
Doesn’t she remember? Sometimes

she asks about her brother.
They tell her he’s been gone
for ten years now. Each time
it’s a new blow to the stomach, a new
knife to the heart. When her daughter
dies, they don’t know what to tell her.
Where is Barbara? She often asks.
She’s coming, they tell her.
You’ll see her. She misses you.

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