My Eyes Travel Like Steam Engines

my eyes travel like steam engines 

over the blue sparked veins of my mother's hands
there are two new bandaids she waves away as nothing
but she does this with her hands, 
making their fragility stand out like candles in a darkened room
I don't mention it again, but my eyes keep chugging forward to the time
when her hands will be still, when I will be halved, left desolate without her.

she is smiling at me,
as if there were no more appropriate response to my presence.
curling my own hands into my lap, I remember how my only goal in life
has been to protect her from disappointment, 
shining up my life from a ragged pair of shoes into something worthy of a ball.

I smile back.

Kate LaDew is a graduate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a BA in Studio Art. Ahe resides in Graham, NC with her two cats, Charlie Chaplin and Janis Joplin.