Strained

There was a late dinner in summer, sun nearly set
suburban sounds whirring down to an easy lull—

invertebrate symphonies narrating
my mother’s hands over the stove.

She looked young beneath soft yellow light
and I counted her steps in threes

one two three to the corner cabinet
clanging of pots and pans and light-footed patter

I remember her draining potatoes in the sink
and wonder if it feels the same to her now;

if she can differentiate between the gallons of water
she boiled in our kitchen over decades.

Steam settled on the window like dust, a mirror
of the curve in her spine watching over the yard.

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