( Atlanta, Georgia )
I Care for the Body that Bore Me
As my motherís mouth lesions worsened,
making a jail-break from gums to face,
I entered the old house twice daily
to puree the Stoufferís Turkey Noodle Alfredo,
a whitish goo that somehow sustained life,
her bedroom Sony blaring even louder
as though the blenderís whine were a threat
to the love between TV and dying woman.
And after her thanks for food and water
I often searched for some unneeded lie
to escape this air where part of my mother
was out-gassing, returning to dirt
before the rest of her was ready to go,
what had made the surgeon lean to her ear,
Thereís nothing more we can do for you, Sara,
what at least fetched the home hospice corps -
habitless holy women who brought
the vigor of a new sheriff in town, plus new drugs.
They said everything I was doing was right.
They said taking care of the care-giver
carried equal weight, and this I believed
for this was their calling, to be escorts,
transition-queens whose word was made law.
So, really, how wrong could it have been
to sometimes late at night unscrew the sticky top
from the Roxanol, synthetic morphine,
so thick, so cherry-flavored, so mythic.
And there on the front porch where, as a boy
I licked red popsicles before they melted,
I now saw tail lights smear to ruby streaks.
I now felt the surge of all Gods rising,
what I trusted was also lifting her.
Next - Marilyn Kallet