Dumplings

Mom claims she forgot, two decades without

touching a chopping board. But it’s still drying

up against the wall after being washed.

“Just buy frozen ones,” I pled, waking this morning

instead to find ingredients and flour painting the table,

filling the wrinkles of her hands. Eternal summers give us

less reason to handwash, too much like wringing sweat, but

the swept-back hair exposing her slick forehead is from

her habit of forgetting things and taking the long way.

It is the skins. Every fold pressed in has her going

back and forth. She loads in water chestnuts, mushrooms,

diced meat and the last of her morning. She serves them

in soup hot as the afternoon, still fresher than the memory when

I last had them at ten – it was night then, same ingredients

on a moldy board with fewer scars than her in Dad’s old house.

At least she remembers the recipe, and doesn’t need to return there.

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