Sunday, February 16, 2014

Bare-Wristed

Written in memory of my mother, on Mother’s Day 2006

The week before my mother died
I held her arm, rubbed her feet
Left fingerprints on her flesh
Like some patented memory pillow
Kept random conversation
About mis-matched earrings
The plight of Israel
The twenty-five inches of snow
Just outside her third floor window that had melted in a day
And explored the parameters of chaos

Edema had bloated her
So that she was like a half-leaked balloon
You might find the week after a birthday party
In some odd corner of the house
Hovering down by the heat registers,
Travelling sleepily wherever the air wanted it to go

She was a good mother
The kind who knows to wrap the string
Round her child’s wrist
To avoid the tears when balloons fly off
Her hands brushing my bangs aside
And straightening my socks

Yet now, I stood bare-wristed
Teared eyes tracing her spent form
As she soared skyward toward home
I was the child wiping bangs from her cold forehead
Alone in a room with flowers that had bloomed
And lost their scent

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