Watching Television with My Mother

Photograph by Jose Padua
Watching television with my Mom
sometimes it was professional wrestling
and she’d go one two THREE whenever
the bad guy heel got pinned by the babyface
hero. She always liked the babyfaces and
I usually liked the heels but whenever she
counted out loud like a wannabe referee
or a master dancer teaching her student
how to waltz, I was happy her guy won.
After her stroke it was hard for her to hit
the same rhythm though I could see it
on her face that seemed to say Go in place
of the numbers, Go as the means of instruction,
and ever since then that’s been what I prefer
to hear. Go instead of “it’s ten minutes
before we get home.” Beautiful instead of
“the temperature is 72 degrees.” Forever
instead of gone or absent or missing. And
when we walk we walk like heroes, here,
in the last sunlight before astronomical dusk,
because whoever moves on this illuminated
Earth by counting steps is lost to dust, and
we strive not to be moved by these dry winds.

-Jose Padua

Photograph by Jose Padua


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