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My sister washes as I rinse and dry.
Looking out the window, all I can see
is in, the scene behind me,
table, now clear, our mother
sitting in a chair, hands like
small birds, flutter in her lap.
The light above the table, its harsh
rings of gold glint off the wood's surface.
I wonder if there are stars tonight—
the days thick clouds blown south
by a Canadian wind. Wonder too
what wish she'd make, if she could make one.
I am beyond wishing, dry the last glass instead.
Want to bargain with time, with cancer, offer
whatever it'll take to keep her here
with us at her side, we walk to the porch
stars so low we can hold them in our hands
stars to make a thousand wishes on
there, she says, is Cassiopeia. And there
the Archer. I try to take comfort in their names,
these constellations she's pointed out to me
all my life. Try not to hate that they’ll
still be here, on the darkest of nights,
when she no longer is.
-Julia Klatt Singer
-Used with permission.