She says her mother named
her Sonnet because she loved
Edna St. Vincent Millay and read
her Love is Not Blind in the crib.
In her Mickey Mouse voice,
she tells us she has rescued
a newborn wren that needs
to be fed every 30 minutes.
Left it in a cage in her two-bedroom
apartment along with the bulldog,
Border Collie, two Siamese
and five four-week-old kittens.
Baby birds are fragile. Hope it survives
while I’m at work for three hours,
she says smiling as Shirley Temple
curls fall on her forehead.
Cool, she says as I tell her again
to please hang up my mother-
in-law’s silk blouses and slacks
and brand new birthday dress
and not wad them up and throw
them in the hamper like wrappers
and to wring out the wet towels
and hang them up to dry.
We are watching videos
when my mother-in-law
rings the bell rigged to her recliner.
As we rush in, she says, Wake her up!
Sonnet is sleeping soundly
and surprised when we shake
her shoulders and like a Stepford
Wife, she stands up and grins
as she gently lifts my mother-
in-law from the recliner
and wheels her to the hospital
bed and tucks her in.
Sharon Waller Knutson is a retired journalist who lives in a wildlife habitat in Arizona. She has published several poetry books including My Grandmother Smokes Chesterfields by Flutter Press and What the Clairvoyant Doesn’t Say and Trials & Tribulations of Sports Bob forthcoming from Kelsay Books. Her work has also appeared in various journals most recently in Mad Swirl, Trouvaille Review, Muddy River Review, Verse-Virtual, Your Daily Poem, Red Eft Review and The Song Is…