Don’t spill anything, I say to her
when she interrupts my writing
to ask where we keep the cooking oil
holding a wet bowl, standing in the doorway.
I look up, brakes suddenly thrown
on the prose train I’ve been riding,
to watch the brilliant words
fly out the window over my desk.
The cabinet under the sink, I say,
my pen hovering over the page.
Sorry to bother you, she says
water slowly dripping from the bottom of the bowl.
She is ten and I am her mother,
still her shelter and giver of blessing.
You know that, I add, looking down at my notebook,
pen poised to recapture my last thought.
She is gone when I look back up.
I can hear her in the kitchen,
listing the ingredients she can find on her own,
while I watch the empty doorway.
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