Last Night Your Mother

shows up carrying a list of titles
and magazines I have to read.
She walks me away from the table
in the center to her home up First Hill.
She ushers me through the garden
into her place as if we had been headed
here for years. When she speaks,
her eyes listen to my face.
The first room is dark and cool,
the table white linen and wine glasses,
three cheeses, shrimp, tomato,
cilantro, blackberries, and sliced baguettes.
Beyond this still life I discover Hemingway
standing in the next room, his beard trimmed,
the white tropical shirt loose at the waist.
The curtains are pulled back, light and more light.
He never looks up. He paints watercolor.
The brush ending in his palm floats
like willow in a hint of wind.
I say nothing because she’s said nothing.
He waves a mustard wash over a field,
a pencil line suggests a distant hillside.
Sit, she insists, her elegance as much ease
as taste. Her hand signs quiet
as she stops to listen to birdsong.
I carry her gesture into my day.
This is only the idea of telling you.

-Kevin Miller

*Previously published in Crab Creek Review.

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