Each day for the last nine weeks
I lit a candle for your mother
with a match from Café Lalo on West 83rd
(I would often grab a box with the illustration
of a woman with a yellow dress and hat
lifting a morsel to her red lips)
where I went once a week after seeing my shrink
after my mother died trying to deal with loss
and other congenital conditions.
I don’t go there anymore
and the matches have stayed
in a drawer waiting for special occasions
a dinner party or a winter morning
when I would light a candle
as I imagined your mother would be doing
at her breakfast table with its red-checked cloth
a lesson learned from her
of how to celebrate the descending night.
The matches are almost all gone
and I would rather stuff my mouth
with dirt than say this
but I know for you there are still to go—
if I count my mother’s as the number
of days to grieve—days innumerable.
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 23, Issue 4.
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