Only recently did it occur to me
that she might have dreamt a different life,
a creativity not bound by all the matter of women's domesticity.
So I asked her.
The afternoon was sunny – matching her disposition.
Over coffee in the chic café
'Mama, what was your heart's dream?'
She blinks – once – perhaps to give herself time to think
then bunts the question back to me
the question mark
a grappling hook at the end of a sentence.
A pianist, is the reply I expect.
My mind's ear tuned to childhood, I hear
Chopin Schubert Mozart Gershwin.
No mean talent, she.
'Nothing,' she replies, 'not really.'
I slump in disappointment
until, having completed the task of
brushing imaginary crumbs from her ample bosom, she adds:
'Except a singer. Not opera. You know, a singer.'
Careening jigsaw-puzzle pieces of memory
lock together, fragments are made whole.
'Jazz', I exclaim, and she smiles.
'Yes. Ella Fitzgerald.'
'Only that,' she says. 'Nothing really.'
Just a dream.