My mother and I stand at the sink
staring through the postage stamp-sized window
at our defunct garden.
She sighs deep and long.
What for, I ask
Just a sigh she says
Sighing is breathing with meaning, I say.
Everything has to have meaning to you, she says.
And we grow quiet.
The sink is full up now and the water is hitting
my mom's belly in short waves I make when I dip a plate to rinse.
Why we let the dishes go for so long I don't know.
We'd never do that if Daddy were here.
I got cones and rods like cameras, he says.
Miles, endless miles of tape. In the end it will do me no good, I think,
but in the middle, or maybe at the moment, maybe . . .
"You're exhausting." A slight smile appears on my mom's face
as she mourns our okra and cantaloupe.
I decide to take that as a compliment. What else can I do, really?