(For my mother)
I don’t think you realized
the force of your words,
the power of negative thinking
that carried you through
until fate granted your wish.
The day the call came
saying you’d slipped away
I’d been watching sparrows
dive into the reflected world
of my windows,
stunned by the force of reality.
After Daddy died
you curled up inside him,
left us, except for your youngest,
her graduation your expiration date.
What of my son, first grandchild,
the one you clutched as your own,
who crept under the wing your spread?
He curled up in silence
when I told him you were gone.
What of the grandchildren who will know you
by photos and secondhand memories?
Three months ago I stood in for you,
held your youngest’s first child
through her first night at home,
the warmth of new life against my cheek
Feeling the tiny wings of her heartbeat
I thought of the sparrows
on the day of your death.
When the phone rang
I knew you were gone,
my sister’s graduation
only days in the past.
How many times had your wish sliced our hearts?
The Cancer that severed Daddy
so suddenly from our lives
chewed up your body,
organ by organ,
spit you out of our world
right on schedule.
In that moment before flight
did you turn to confront the love
that couldn’t hold you here?
When you severed the ties,
slipped out of your pain,
did you briefly pass through ours?
Copyright© 1999 Pam Patterson