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Grey Sparrow Journal and Press, as of January 31, 2018 will move to

Issue 30, July 31, 2017
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By Carol Wobig

Cold air grabs my ankles. I approach my mother at the end of the hall. She sits in her favorite chair beneath a tall window which is cracked open; the frosted glass bears a shadow of iron bars. She is working. In her right hand is a plastic crochet hook. In her left, soiled rippling thread.

“Mother,” I say, standing in front of her now. She doesn’t look up, keeps working. I can hear the dry oak leaves blowing about on the lawn outside the window.

“Mother, look what I’ve brought you,” I say, kneeling down in front of her on the cold terrazzo floor. Her soft flesh rests one layer on another beneath a pink housecoat with silver snaps. The smell of Cashmere Bouquet, the nurses have cleaned her up for my visit, mingles with the smell of smoke from my jacket.

“Mother,” I say again, and try to show her what I’ve brought: fresh balls of thread; red, yellow, and blue, crackling in their cellophane wrappers. She keeps working, doesn’t look up.

“Lunch in five minutes,” comes over the PA system. Mother hoists herself up, places her yarn and hook on the chair and walks past me toward the lunch room. I am a tree, a picture on the wall. I drop the bag of thread on her chair and run down the hall and out the heavy front door. On the steps, I stop and with shaking hands light a cigarette, suck the killing, satisfying smoke deep into my lungs.