by KIKO V.

“You need to release
the pressure in the hose
when you’re done watering!”

I gently scold my mother
using the same tone of voice
she had often used with me
decades earlier

back when I was the child
and she was the parent.

But she just stares at me with a blank face.

Over the years
she and my father
tried to keep their minds sharp
by watching all the evening quiz shows
shouting out answers to oblivious hosts
from their matching La-Z-Boy recliners.

They also picked at crossword puzzles
while they ate their TV dinners
and gulped down fistfuls of vitamins
and memory pills.

But now they don’t know many answers
and the only sound emanating from them
is the high-pitched hum
of their hearing aids
which they cannot hear.

Their colorful store of
vitamins and food supplements
has been replaced by
rows of dark amber vials
and white latex gloves.

And their coffee-stained books
full of games and puzzles
now sit in dusty piles
beside stacks of old calendars
and crumbling photo albums.

* * *

The late afternoon sun
peaks out from between the boughs
of a drooping willow tree
and the last glittery rays of daylight
reflect off my mother’s
newly permed copper hair
which lay in burnished waves
across her wrinkled forehead.

“I think I’ll just stay out in the garden
a little while longer”
she says, in a tired voice.
“The flowers all look so beautiful
at this time of the day.”

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