She checks the gas stove every time
That she goes out; crosses herself
In heavy traffic. Writing rhyme,
She counts the syllables. The shelf
Above her table — there she saves
Two photos, plates, a silver spoon.
The flotsam from deep tidal waves
Of memory wash in, and soon
Some fruit, spooned in her best utensil,
Flavors her life with childhood calm,
Evoking ancient tastes. Her pencil
Must be sharp, the bending palm
Be watered. Time is pressing her,
Distressing her; she’s drowning here.
As peaceful life holds out its lure,
Her nose goes under, breathing fear.