They watch my slow tucking of napkins
under the left sides of plates.
They reach around me to get the coffee canister,
yank open and slam-close drawers looking for
teaspoons, Splenda, the goddamn coffee filters.
They don’t have all day!
People hustle around me
on busy sidewalks subway stairs.
I take too long with the strawberries.
Studied a spider this morning—only as big
as four sesame seeds with legs like a baby’s
eyelashes—slow-climbing up the steamy wall
of a bathroom. Climb, slip, climb. After a while
I stopped telling myself stories about her search for
home, food, or all of our unknowable mothers.
Ellen Devlin is the author of chapbooks Rita and Heavenly Bodies at the MET.
Her recent journal publications include Beyond Words, 2023, Muleskinner Journal, 2023, Rock Paper Poem, 2023, Westchester Review, 2023. She lives in Irvington, New York