Ari can't hear carols.
And when she plays the angel in our nativity
her message for the shepherds is silent.
With her spread-eagled in my arms,
I dip to help her feel the rhythm
of her mother's piano.
She swirls the gold ribbon
we used for her costume
like she hears each note.
Earlier that day,
all through her mother's duet,
Ari screamed. Her eyes on the lights
at the back of the chapel,
her tiny fingers crying "more"
long after the sacrament passed.
My mother drove our cancerous cat
to the vet and to sleep.
Burial was twenty-five dollars extra
so she drove Smokey home
wrapped in a bath towel,
buried her in the rain while I was at school.
I imagine my mother with a shovel,
her slick black coat.
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