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To My Mother, to Whom I Have Not Been Able to Sing Since You Died

 
There is an incomplete song buried in my room somewhere
about how much I loved you.
It's called "The Strongest Woman"
and I haven't had the strength to finish it.

I don't know why it's so hard for me
to lift pen to paper to give words
my voice might want to carry
as it did to you
the Month Before You Died,
because I didn't want you to die before
you heard me sing your favorite song.

The song was about being a hero,
And you said to me, in a voice cracked by chemotherapy,
"You're my hero too."

I wonder how you ever could have thought that,
When you, you whose body was nothing more than a skeleton with skin,
You who could barely speak,
You, who after months of
toxins building up in your system
your liver could no longer cleanse away,
could hardly differentiate fantasy from reality,
You fought death for three days.
You moaned and tossed and struggled, while we could
only watch helplessly, unwilling spectators
to a wrestling match between a single mortal and Fate.

You fought death for three days,
and surrendered only when your audience was willing,
finally, to let you go.

Me, I can't put a pen to paper
to finish a song
about how much I loved you.
And I guess it's because I don't have the strength
to let you go again.

 


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All original materials © 2003 R. Pickard