My mother is still there.
On her bed,
her blankets that matched ours
still folded from the warmer nights.
They are smaller, neater, perhaps not so soft.
The phone is back at its nightstand post,
prepared to serve.
Her blouse is crushed and wilted.
She tells me that it’s fine
just an argument
no, your dad isn’t mad at you or your brothers
we just disagree sometimes
it’s all okay.
The great protector has become a liar
to spare us from her harsh wisdom.
I know this, but I agree.
Her hair has escaped its confines
and continues to swirl onto her face
unbounded, uncaring, disobedient,
shoving for attention in the hero’s defeat.
Her attempts to fight it are futile.
She sends me to bed with a hug and a kiss,
lingering for just a second,
the flap of a hummingbird’s wing.
She is still there,
crying when she believes we cannot hear
begging for help like my baby brother
screeching for his fire truck.
She has been bested
but she is still there.