Through the modest window above their bed,
the young woman lay still and listened to voices
of passersby with words lifting and falling.
She waited in the dark for coolness to find her.
Her fast ears wandered and scanned the surface
like a submarine, shyly listening.
I never thought about living
in a nursing home until a social worker
declared that Mother needed the care
given in such a place. The words whirled,
swooped and kicked in the door
of her house. No compromises. Her mind
fought against leaving irises, gardenias,
Bright and sassy, Joy caught
a cowbird with a broken leg.
She mended it, taught it to whistle,
named it Ringo, gave it a television.
Bebopping around, she modeled
how to walk like a bird.
Then she sang a Beatles song to Ringo,
letting her ponytail flippity-flop.