Tradition & Innovation

Love Song to the House of Mourning

plump brown-skinned woman holding mug of tea sitting at table leaning forehead onto one hand, looking down, sad
Love song to the woman who sits
alone in her house mourning her mother.
Her voice echoes off hardwood floors.
She pours a cup of tea
and lifts it, steaming, to her lips.
Love song to the steam that tingles
against her weathered cheeks.
Alone in her house mourning her mother –
she yearns to chide old dear friends
for bending over to sweep up crumbs.
Love song to the old dear friends
who filled her home when her husband died –
the buzz of their voices mingled with her laughter and sobs.
Alone in her house mourning her mother
she aches for the smell of their coffee.
Love song to the coffee percolating in the dining room
to the cakes and bagels piled on trays
to the leftovers she apportioned into Tupperware
to the pile of coats on the bed, which now is bare and she –
alone in the house mourning her mother.
Alone in the house mourning her mother
she cooks her own dinner and eats it,
washes the dishes, and puts them away.
She cradles the cup of tea in her hands –
Love song to the hands longing to be held.

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