She saved toothpicks from restaurants
like dessert toted away in doggie bags
except pockets worked so well,
so handy in case her tongue
discovered a stubborn morsel
lodged between molar and bicuspid.
A quick pick, and it disappeared.
My sister and I unearthed these treasures
while checking pockets before donating
our dead mother’s clothes.
Each sliver of lumber held in her hands,
now held in ours with hesitation
before throwing away the saved toothpick.