When I hear ice clinking in a glass
I think of my mother and how we could tell,
by slur or by gait, if she’d had one drink

or two-and-a-half; how, by the third, a chill
would coat her in a hardened shell,
or she’d rain down like hail with tearful

stories we’d heard before. I’d call around
to the usual bars when I was ten, long after
dinner, long after bedtime. I’d check

to make sure she was breathing
when she slept, ribs rising & falling
in slow frigid waves. But there are no

middle-of-the-night rantings now,
no shaking us awake from our splintered
sleep, making us get up

to wash dishes we’d left In the sink.
No calls from jail now as some guard
listens in, the click and static filling

the fissure between us. We drift, broken
chunks of lost glacier. We slide away,
cubes released from their frosty silver trays.

© Barb Reynolds