my mother’s waltz

Crouched in the stairwell

cloaked in shadows

I watch my mother

in the kitchen



Her faded housecoat

cinched tight

around soft waist

flaps against varicose legs


Arms embracing air

she swirls


Her fuzzy pink slippers flip-flopping

half a beat


Edith Piaf on the radio in

three-four time


Huffing and puffing

She twirls

around uncleared table

Toes dance with yesterday’s crumbs

She spins


and sees me.


Her face flushed

eyes bright

She smiles

forgets to cover with apologetic hand

her missing tooth


“Listen to her sing,” she beams

“It must be a very sad song!” and she waltzes away

as the kettle whistles