Priscilla Atkins
My Mother Eats French Toast

My mother is eating French toast
so that I can write.

This is not to say she is the cause—
but the effect is the same.

In my mind, I see her
at a quiet address

in the Faubourg St. Germain:
the table is round,

and a small tricolored dog sleeps
on frayed needlepoint at her feet,

dreaming the dream a philosopher
once dreamt, centuries ago, when

the apartment’s occupants ran
with the petite noblesse.

Now, there are only the embroidered
cuffs on my mother’s white blouse,

and the teacup she is setting
down in its saucer reflecting

the shadow of her hand:
underneath the glaze

an imperceptible crack
that will some day rise

and further clarify
the delicate line that Mother, cup,

dog and I are all walking.
There are some things we can manipulate

for our own purposes. Others, not.
The color of the dog, for instance:

I wanted him to be blue,
but he insisted (stubborn

terrier) on staying true
to his own imagination.