Her hands bob

 

like branches
where parrots have
landed—
mimicking 
phrases from 
various ages—
 
she listens
and heeds them,
letting them lead her
through the snow
in slippers
with handkerchiefs
stuffed inside,
stopping and
nervously
looking behind.
 
"She wasn't always
this way,"
says a neighbor
of ours; "she loved 
the ballet—
 
Remember how you
loved the ballet?"
—Where are my slippers?
"You're wearing 
your slippers."
—Is somebody there?
 
There's nobody
there...
 
...and on she
prates as we 
guiltily wait
for the birds
to fly south.