i try to maintain tradition
by waking up early in the morning
with dreams still lingering in my mind
as i make myself a small cup of coffee
i seek your scent when i open my closet
i reach for my shrinking cardigan
the one you bought me a few Christmases ago
i press the itchy cloth to my nose
and search for your smell
before returning it to its hanger

i used to think that i knew your house
in the same way that
a mother knows the pained cry of her child
but now it feels like
memories of you are
too distant
to retrieve again

when i park in your gravel driveway
i sit in my car for a moment
watching you weed-whack your front yard
i notice your posture shift
as you wipe sweat from your brow
after you lovingly greet me
you ask me to watch for a wood bee
and to kill it if i see it
when we go inside
you cool yourself with a damp washcloth

you guide my hand as i cut the package of tea
and you marvel at how it’s loose leaf
and question why
i’m holding the scissors
in my non-dominant hand

we sit at your kitchen table
drinking our tea
listening to the ice clink against plastic
i wish i could tell you everything
and maybe one day i will
but for now
i just watch
as you pray
over our lunch

please bless this food
and the time we have here together,