For years she suffered
And I prepared -or tried- for that fateful day.
I smeared on so much empathy
If mom were a toast
Even she would have gone soft.
I tried to reconnect sinews that had been torn
enmeshed neuralgic structures
tangled after years of family riffraff.
Trying to paste it all together was naive,
even in the name of the Family.
Trying to be "there" was idealistic,
when for so many years we were pushing apart.
It was a week when the rains heaved in
My worries of "nature drying" were dispelled when the
phone rang announcing mother lay dying
She had a week left at best, so I began to prepare my bags
Burning pain, I knoweth not where from
A small but deep point, like a bite that drilled into my flesh
had me check into the emergency
I had to check
I a nurse, a health professional, and then be off! to my grave business.
Upon examination the doctor said,
"We have to operate tonight, no later, no later."
"But my mother is dying, I have to go"
"If we let you go, you will join your mother, but not on this living world"
My soul was jolted
had I trucked with evil spirits?
had I not gone to church enough?
had I not been honest? were some of the myriad of questions that jangled me.
That night my mother died.
My friend accused a parallel psychosomatic disorder,
Regardless, heavy doses of antibiotics were prescribed
that ultimately buried my stomach in a WWI trench.
Still, with stoic resolve, I went to the funeral
Wanting to hold still, to listen still,
to the words and the music that my mother loved
Only if still
My intestines didn't rumble like a tank moving over the trenches where my stomach lie
awaiting to explode.
Only if the internal aftershock wasn't there
But it was.
Forced to leave under the watchful family eyes
I tried to change thought
Didn't my cat go for a walk
Didn't you spend three days,
Three nights looking and worrying about it just before my infection?
And that fly that got under my bed cover?
My mind was slipping. Was it the antibiotics or my infection coming back to get me?
The cold bathroom at the funeral home piped insipid organ music
I held on to a heating pipe in the stall
And wished I were
In my bath, thinking about mother.