Today is the anniversary of my mother’s birth. Last night was the anniversary of her death. Four days before was the anniversary of my father’s death. in three days we will remember them all and wish these were the old days when believing would bring them close again, just for a few hours.
The day I became an orphan
On the bed, a woman sleeping,
a face familiar in all its lines,
unlined not old, smooth-skinned,
unfamiliar in its distance.
Eyes so blue, closed.
In the bed, a warmth, a body, a casing,
and beating still, beat, beat, beating,
On the sheet, a hand, still,
the shape of the nails familiar,
the ring I look at for the first time since childhood,
amethyst winks in the hospital brightness.
In the hand, a trace,
a link to the heart, beat, beat, beating still,
and when I take the hand in mine,
at the end of the long last tearful journey,
the steady breathing catches,
and the fingers press mine with all the gentleness,
the ancient abiding with me tenderness,
of a blackbird, enfolding her chicks
beneath her spread wing.