Your heart is about the size of your two hands clasped together.
Two billion heartbeats in a lifetime,
but you didn't get all of yours, neighbor.
Same white dog in the window,
snow-covered sidewalks, powdered-sugar pines.
I glimpse their rituals return next door—
she attends the spring dance in a new dress;
he carries a full course load.
Your children toss a football
across our autumn lawns,
string Christmas lights,
clasp each other's hands.
On difficult days we meet
at the makeshift altar
on my kitchen windowsill—
your warm face on a Mass card
tucked behind the farmer's sink.
You whisper all that truly matters,
Be a good mother. Be a good mother.