I sit
Head tilted, gazing lazily at
The spoon in my hand as it
Swirls the dissolving sugar
Around my cheerios and milk,
And there is a kind of calming silence
Lingering in morning's last moments,
Save for the subtle anger of the faucet
Behind me as the hot water rushes out
To aid Diane in rinsing yet another load of dishes.

It seems she's always rinsing dishes,
Or preparing meals
Or wiping down counters.
I could count on my fingers
The number of times I've seen her sit down
In all my life.

The water stops and
My eyes find their way to the empty chair
On the other side of the old, plain dining table,
Across from me.
I half expect grandma to be sitting there,
Reading one of her horror novels and
Softly singing something about toast and jam…

Though I know she hasn't sat there in years,
And the last memories of her in that chair
Include her coughing fits.
And then there was finally a morning
Where she neither sat, nor sang, nor coughed and
We had to face the cancer's cruel victory.

There's a sigh, and I can see that now the only
Thing that seems to occupy the small wooden chair
Is a streak of sunlight that has escaped
Through the broken blinds
Of the dining room window—

Until Diane, having tossed her wet rag into the sink,
Wanders over and, running her tired hands swiftly through her hair,
Looks her mother's chair up and down and