Mom is alive and well and standing by the kitchen sink,
her hands immersed in soapy dishwater, scrubbing
the bowl she’d used to make chocolate icing for cake,
staring out the window at the ice-capped quarry.
She’s given me the electric beaters to lick.
I push my tongue between
the metallic edges into the deeper places.
I can’t get enough sweetness.
I follow her eyes to the flicker of movement in the bush.
“What’s that?” I ask. “A junco?”
I can never tell the little birds apart.
The chickadees and juncos are both small and bouncy
and mostly grey. Mom says I need to pay closer attention,
to spend more time seeing what’s there.
With her as guide, I learn to pay attention to details,
however small, to help me tell the birds apart.
I begin to notice the markings of feathers, their colour and shape.
Her favourite is…
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