They were not shaky, my mother’s hands
the last time I ever saw her, though she fluttered them
at the over-the-bed table, wondering if the nurses
found her arrangement to be acceptable.
Her arrangement, she called it — a card or two,
a vase of flowers, the perpetual plastic water jug.
It was not shaky at all, my mother’s right hand,
when she raised it as I was leaving, when she
waggled her fingers in the air at me, once, twice —
that unmistakable gesture of goodbye to a child.
8 (to explain later)