by Ricki Mandeville

Mamaw, in her nineties, shuffles her feet
across the wood floor like she’s walking through
shallow water. In the kitchen, though,
hip propped against the counter, she’s steady,
making cornbread, cutting apples, mixing crust.
When we were kids, she’d watch with squinted eyes
while we played swing-a-statue at the park.
Keep your shoes on! she’d yell, and Time to go home!
With Mama at work she was the one to mind.
After supper I wind my arm around her waist,
help her upstairs, wait while she cleans her teeth.
Sunk into the pillow, she smiles, snuggles in.
I kiss her cheek, catch a whiff of lavender,
leave the door ajar. She’s my baby now.

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