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The Conversation

"My daughter comes and goes," Mom says.
"I am your daughter," I announce.
I stand by her straight green chair
and take her hand in mine.
Her head turns toward me
But her eyes stare without focus.

Bending toward her, I ask.
"Would you like a drink of water?'
"My daughter comes and goes," she answers.
From her pink plastic pitcher,
I pour the water into a cup.
I pour until I am empty.

I place the cup in her hand,
closing her finger s around it, one by one.
She raises the water to open lips,
but tilts the cup too soon.
She wants to drink,
but cannot find her mouth.

I mop the spill and get more water.
I raise the fresh cup to her lips.
She smiles, sips, and slips her hand over mine.
"My daughter comes and goes," she says.
"My mother too, " I answer,
hug her hard and kiss her.

published in Snapdragon Journal, Fall 2020

Joan Leotta plays with words on page and stage. Her work often tells stories of food, family and strong women. This poem was previously published in New Press Literary Quarterly & Languid Lusciousness with Lemon.

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