Old News


My mother was a high woman.

She sat up tall in bed,

pillows piled behind her back.

Some days she'd fall

if the sheets weren't pulled tight,

and we didn't place her right

in the middle of the pillows so

the hollow would hold her bones.

But she was tall.

And she'd say:

Bring me old news

and spread it out;

bring me potatoes, the knife,

an onion, a few carrots.


And right there in her pillows

she'd carve up the stew

order it set on the stove



Sometimes, at night, even now,

I feel something press

down the edge of my bed,

next to my chest.

I tell myself:

hold still.  Don't breathe.

I keep my eyes shut;

feel the bed sink down.

I cross my arms over my chest.


That high woman holds me.