land of the lost

she’s losing. time. all the time. never knows. she just had it in her hand — the pills, the bill, that pair of scissors, the pink comb. she leaves the bag of frozen pierogi on the counter, wonders what’s dripping all over the floor. always turns on the wrong stove burner.
in the car on the way back from visiting her son — my brother — her talk gets smaller and smaller:
She: why do they build houses so close to the highway.
me: those houses were there before the road was put in, ma.
She: look at all those different kinds of cars on the road.
me: yup.
She: what are those yellow “P” letters on all those cars.
me: they’re not ‘”P”s ma, they’re magnetic yellow ribbons and they mean “support our troops.”
She: that sign says it’s 90 miles to Buffalo.
me: no, ma. It says that this is Interstate 90 and it leads to Buffalo.
She: look at all those trees. all different kinds of trees. who planted all those trees.
me: [silence]
She: people are using Polish words when they talk English. that man on the radio just said “Jak tam….”
me: i don’t think so, ma. you must have heard it wrong.
She: there’s nothing wrong with my hearing. you’re all trying to make me believe that i’m crazy. i can hear just fine.
me: [silence}
She: look at those birds. you can learn a lot from birds.
me: yup.
She: when your father was alive………
and as she loses herself in time, i succumb to the hum of the open road, wish for wings, for the blessings of solitude and silence.

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