A Short Good Life

The Mirror

For years now
whenever we visit my mother,
we can feel her readying herself.
Her ears are primed for any comment
of admiration for a tchotchke,
fondness for a book or kitchen item.
“Take it,” she’ll say.
“Take it now. I don’t need it.
You enjoy.”
Disarming and alarming. 
Does she know about her ending?
She’s messing with my denial, my spunky mother.
Taking pleasure in the gifting. Good for her.

I notice the mirror in the entryway –
an antique with a stylishly carved light wood frame –
a large horizontal oval. 
A tad shorter year by year,
she looks up to see her reflection,
Checks her red rain hat – just so -
Or the wide brimmed gold sun hat,
her Calderesque earrings
Her lipstick - just so.

Hesitant, I admit
that when the time comes,
I’d like the mirror.
“It’s yours,” she assures me.
In it, I will find her, just so.

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