Remnants

Kent Rogers

My mother passed a few years ago.
She’d made it to ninety-two,
Quite a time,
More than I expect myself.
Her presence occasionally wafts about, becomes apparent:
A tattered quilt in the back of a closet
A brown photo between two pages.
I used an old desk phone a while back when my cell phone died.
The old phone had an answering machine in it.
I plugged it in and the message light began to flash. The notes of a past sounded in the room:
Two wrong numbers
Two advertisers
Two scammers
Two hang-ups.
And then there she was, clear, present, alive.
I held my breath: she said the weather was too hot and nobody had called her all day.
Last night I lifted a plate from my cupboard,
An old teacup saucer that I used as a remnant, a mismatch,
the last of a set whose other members had long ago vanished.
Made of bone china with a light gold inlay, roses painted across the borders.
The last of my mother’s tea set.
The plate slipped from my hand, shattered on the counter, plummeted to the floor.
Pieces, pieces.
I stood, stared, gathered the sight:
One more last remnant of her splintered, fractured, gone.

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