A painting
of my Mother hangs in the dining room. She waits

all day
for me to come in. I watch her

watch me eat
each meal, her face frozen at twenty-two,

mine older
every second. At night, I walk to the crossroad

where I saw
her last. Don’t shout, don’t follow, I say aloud,

imitating her
gravel voice. It is only then

that I remember how
she looked: grey and solemn, walking toward

woods filled
with cabins she said were charnel houses

and rivers
she promised would someday flood into lakes.