Anniversary

Lifting the sheet and summer blanket high
While the morning air struggles to billow them underneath
As they sink onto the bedframe,

She remembers
When you taught a five-year-old gangly girl
Who adored you so and loved your hugs swallowing hurt and worry
Into your arms strengthened by years of cleaning
And softened by years of cooking and tasting for seven
And rounded by the weight of bringing five into this world
(A labor you called sweet and easy),

How to make a bed just so,
Smoothing out the lines to a crisp and fresh clean.

Now she allows the sheet to wrinkle and the blanket to hold stains,

A reminder that one year you are gone,
As her childhood and your protective love.

The author with her mom when Carol visited to say goodbye. Saturday, 21 June 2014. Falls Church, Virginia.

The author with her mom when Carol visited to say goodbye. Saturday, 21 June 2014. Falls Church, Virginia.

Is This Life?

Black bee sting lingers,

Spreading its poison over

And over again.

 

Brother’s Alzheimer’s

And family dysfunction

And friends’ critical words.

 

A small girl cowers,

Ineffectively shielding

From vicious attacks,

 

While the enemies

Grow drunk in their ecstasy

That she is broken.