Fading like the day.
Life had been kind to mother’s body
but not her memory.

Mother called her by many names;
Alice, Betty, Corrine,
as if to scour the alphabet –
but never guessing beyond E.

She didn’t mind though.
She knew her mother’s body
remembered her
by the way she would stand
upon arrival;
both arms open in a V
as if to catch her
from falling.

Today though,
she did not rise –
or move through names.

The nurse had spoken
of her rapid decline;
that now was the time
for long goodbyes.

She stayed beyond supper,
stroking her mother’s soft hand
telling her tales of love shared,
confessing sins of neglect –
a kind of balm for her busy soul.

How she kissed
the well weathered skin
of her mother’s crown
and managed to save her tears
for the long drive home
was a grace
and reminder
of how she wanted nothing more
than to crawl back
into her mother’s womb
and be born again.

David Tensen

pic: eberhardgross