local_library In Between

by Mary Lee

Published in Issue No. 81 ~ February, 2004

We spoke every day,

She in her London kitchen,

I in my Pittsburgh bedroom,

Our words bouncing above the ocean,

Above the clouds, above the world,

Relayed by satellite.

We spoke of small things:

A broken watch, a missed bus.

In between the sentences,

In the gaps between words,

I heard her yearn toward me.

We met twice a year,

Hugging at the airport,

Breaking bread together,

Sleeping between each other’s sheets.

Once a year she came to Pittsburgh,

To the New World, my new life.

We walked together through Downtown,

Shadyside, Squirrel Hill, Oakland,

Her steps slowing with each visit.

Once a year I returned to London

To have my mother cook meals for me,

And bring her friends to see

The daughter come home,

However briefly.

She lived long enough

To hold William,

Her only grandchild,

To push him in his stroller

As she once pushed me.

I speak to her

When I am alone,

Telling her the small things:

A lost sippy cup, a trip to the library.

In between the sentences,

In the gaps between words,

I hear the broken place.