Thinking of My Mother Growing Old

By STEVEN SHER

It’s not enough that we lock the door,
but we must check that we did,
as mother modeled, pull and turn
then rattle the knob until convinced the
house is safe in our absence.
All must be checked: appliances
to stovetop burners, windows because
there is a chance of robbery or rain,
lamps and switches every room —
except one light, pivotal in this
ritual, left on to fool the neighbors.
Forgoing patience, she anticipates
the unexpected turns, two ready
hands to do her family’s will
and two sure feet to lead us
through life’s trying course.
There is no stopping her
insistence, a whistling kettle
that will roust regrets
before they settle in the heart.

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