The silver cord between us may have been bent,
but was never broken. She always held my hand.

She warmed my clothes on a hissing radiator
before dressing me on cold winter mornings.

Friday afternoons after school we went to Jahn’s
ice cream parlor for “Suicide Frappes.”

Friday evenings we went to the movies
to collect a dish of gold-embossed nightingales
and yellow daffodils until we had a complete set

Mother laughed louder than any one else,
afraid she might pee in her pants.

As a young kid, I watched how she wept
as she looked out the window at a crippled
old man, who crawled down the street in the rain.

She said he was a far-kour-tchetder hin-keh-diker

Mother confided in me about her mother-in-law,
the bane of her existence, who was a wily old lady,
possessive of her only son.

I learned the art of counseling at a very early age.
Her being taught me the meaning of compassion.

Mother stood in the doorway and wept
when I went away to college, and was
forlorn as I marched off to war.

There was never a gold star in her window.
I’m still here, but part of me is gone.