This visit, I look at the blue
of my mother’s eyes behind her glasses
as she talks with my teenage daughters.

She wears my father’s frayed button-down, now mottled
with wood stain and paint. Her hair, cut short,
shows the shape of her skull.

She returns to the garage, slides past the second-hand table
she’s been sanding, and pulls out two planters—
ceramic, blue. From a yard sale, for me, too heavy for her.

I take in her laugh, its crooked lower teeth.

When I kiss her, I bend lower than I used to. Her skin
smells of warmth and wood, a lingering of Shalimar.

There she is now,
behind the glass of her front door, one hand raised in goodbye,
mouthing I love you
as we pull out of the driveway.

I say to my girls, Look! Isn’t she beautiful?

and the older one says, I guess,
and the younger one says, Why do you keep saying that?

And I think I don’t know
what to say, but my mouth is already answering. My mouth
says, Because
I know she’s going to leave.