Counting

Raymond Ziemer

They trundle Mom out

In the big wheel chair.

She slumps

One hand cradled useless

In her lap like a small dead pet,

The other hand

Curled in a loose fist

Finger indicating –

What?

We do not know.

She counts

In her hollow intonation:

“Two, three, four…”

Her pale blue eyes regard us

Without emotion.

Parched lips crack

To count:

“Three, four, five…”

And we wonder

What?

Stirred from her waking dream,

She croaks

“Four, five, six…”

Counting.

Until the day

Just once

She rouses from her reverie

With a gasp and

“Oh,” she cries

In the gleeful voice of a child,

“Look at all the puppies!”