Across from me at Laguardia, a man and his son
chat quietly.  The young man’s cane has a red tip

like a polished fingernail.  He moves it back
and forth.  And I see my mother’s clear

polished nails, candy-cane red lipstick.  Everything
reminds me of what I want to tell her.  She’d stand

in the front hallway and pull the curly chord
from the wall, talk with her cousins:

Lenore, Esther, Fran, after she’d taken me for her
weekly hairdresser visit on Riverdale Avenue,

bought me a toy from the store next door, then
a vanilla ice cream cone from Boxer’s.  She’d look

up, trim gray skirt, gray hair with its new do.  
That final weekend, as skinny as she’d dreamed.

Hair beginning to grow back, this time not bushy
and full of tipsy enthusiasm.  Last night she was

plump again, eating steak with butter, her smile,
her lipstick, that tiny diastema, in all its glory.