I heard her call my name.
Her voice was high and far away.
She only said it once,
So I went to her in the kitchen
Where she worked every night.
Her smile had fallen.
Her light brown skin looked yellow.
She was holding the counter,
But her arms were shaking
Like she was having her own earthquake.
“My purse,” she said.
I ran by her, grabbed the leather bag,
and ran it back. She dumped it.
Wallet, change, lipstick, tissues,
hard candies clattered on the counter.
She clutched a purple ball and tried to open it,
But her hands were shaking too much.
I took it from her and twisted the ends.
I dropped the candy in her hand.
She rushed it to her mouth,
Then sat down hard on the floor.
Sweat beaded by her ear.
I opened another and another and another.
I gave her every piece of candy I could find
Until she could stand.
© 2011 Elizabeth Ehrenfest Steinglass, all rights reserved