Anya Groner

Tacos with Irene

Channukah is over. Still,
on her dresser, the Menorah's
plugged in. "Lunchtime,"

I shout when I kiss
her damp face.
At La Michoacana,

the café is dim. Her chair
is too hard, and the Mariachi's
not music. It's noise. I say,

"chicken or beef?" and she closes
her eyes. She eats with her hands
whatever I order

and draws her blunt knife
across the cloth napkin.
When at last the bill comes,

she rummages her purse
and hands me a postcard
I sent her last May.

On the drive back to Rosewood,
she announces she's moving.
"To the beach," she begins,

and I tell her, congrats, but don't ask
which ocean. "Mother?"
she says and points at us both.

At naptime, I sing, "Goodnight Irene."
She blows on her candles.
The bright bulbs stay on.

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