We talk on the phone once a week, on Sunday morning, my mother and I.
She's probably working the L.A. Times crossword puzzle while we talk;
I can't tell, of course, but our conversations have a desultory quality
that suggests she's occupied elsewhere.

I work on the New York Times crossword in the San Jose Mercury News
while we talk. Every once in awhile, I'm tempted to ask her for
a French phrase, or the name of an NFL team, but I don't.

We both work our puzzles in ink, in neat slanty block letters.

She reads the obits, and asks me if I knew any of the Boyces.
Or asks me if I remember General Phillips, our next door neighbor,
and I'm almost afraid to ask why.

We speak in metaphors drawn from the most ordinary of events.


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