My Mother’s Waltz

Crouched in the stairwell
cloaked in shadows
I watch my mother
in the kitchen

Her faded housecoat
cinched tight
around soft waist
flaps against varicose legs
Arms embracing air
she swirls

Her fuzzy pink slippers flip-flopping
half a beat
Edith Piaf on the radio in
three-four time

Huffing and puffing
She twirls
around uncleared table
Toes dance with yesterday’s crumbs
She spins

and sees me.

Her face flushed
eyes bright
She smiles
forgets to cover with apologetic hand
her missing tooth

“Listen to her sing,” she beams
“It must be a very sad song!” and she waltzes away
as the kettle whistles

shandi mitchell
CV2 Journal of Contemporary Verse
The Poetics of Space Summer 2005