I have seen Death
sigh out of your body,
mouth gaping as if eager to accept
a proffered spoon, branched
from the thistles in your fields.
it’s more likely, nana, that you were
asking if anyone else wanted
a nice strong cup of tea.
if you had preferred loose leaves,
perhaps we would have seen this coming.
I have your hands, red knuckles
rough, rubbed against pockets
& palms; your fidgets,
to stillness; your quiet, shifting
summer air stained red
by perpetual late night
sun. worst of all,
I have your worry, clawing
at eroding gravestones
& shorn nail files, staked
in soft green ground, returned
to the earth, wounds
reciprocated. vulture-like, your knuckles
are mine, hinging around wrists
& cups of lukewarm tea.
Death has always been
touching you. maybe it was He
who hissed those neighborly stories
you mumbled from your stone
gray chair. maybe it was Me
wanting to be that woman down the lane,
projecting a future where I meet you in
the shop, clutching turnips in my jaw & whispering
take my hands
i have so many maura & you
you have so few.
Originally Published in the March 2016 Issue