Mother could not sleep. We built a room near us,
gave her keys. When we went upstairs to check the sky, there was no
roof; thin paper separated us, one room to the next, wind
ripped the coast.
Midsummer, all the windows closed but one. Outside, buildings, doors
in a line, everyone sat in front of their homes and waved. Mother
wondered if she knew them. Wind blew through grape trellises, leaves.
This isn’t Italy, I said, yet small cobblestoned streets opened;
she couldn’t read the signs, but knew the language. I tried to read back
what she wrote; she wanted to know more than she could recognize
by window light: the hospital, bodies afloat on the lake.
To talk with her again, sipping hot tea from cups.
She said my grandmother had shopped for a Thanksgiving cake.
Two women smiled, nodded as we passed in the car. She said
grandmother was waiting for her.
Cathy McArthur, aka, Cathy Palermo, has recently published poetry in The Bellevue Literary Review, Light: A Journal of Poetry and Photography, The Mom Egg Review, and The Rumpus. Her work has also appeared in Juked, The Whale Road Review, The Valparaiso Poetry Review, Two Hawks Review, Hanging Loose, Barrow Street, and others. Cathy lives in New York with her husband and her recently adopted senior cat. She teaches creative writing and composition at The City College of New York.