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Mother's Day

There is always a light.
Right beside your favorite rocking chair in the middle of my mind,
cluttered like your favorite table.
You filled your table with nail-file swords and lip-gloss unicorns,
nail polish knights that came to life because
these were 'big girl,' things.
And as I lay back,
your arm a pillow for my dreams, the rocking chair's sway
making the light a bobbing lantern carried in the night--
I thought I could be like this forever.

The first time I saw the needle I marveled.
How this plastic numbered vial with metal entered your body
to save you everyday, as if it were some soul-resurrecting insulin god
come down to touch its gloried warrior on the battle field filled with
test strips. Jabs. Alcohol wipes.
I laughed when they made you test on an orange.
There was light streaming from the hospital door when we left.
It made the curls of your hair into angel halos.

The first time I came home and you weren't there, my father played it off.
A chance to relax, he said.
We'll have fun and visit her as much as we can.
Just keep the house clean.
When you came home you spoke of sugar-comas as if you were shopping for new shoes.
How the EMT's with you began shaking you and calling your name.
How you said it felt like you were at the bottom of a lake, seeing their faces
wavering through distant light.

The last picture I have of you
staring blankly ahead, above you.
Your skin reminds me of jellyfish beached; there's no color.
I am afraid of your arms.
I am startled by your legs.
The coffee cup in your hand has more substance in the entire picture than you do,
it looks more real than the woman laying prone.
I don't know who she is.
I don't know how to keep looking at this picture.

Dad asked me to write something for your funeral.
As if asking a daughter to pen something quick for her dead mother could ever be easy.
As if a single word could erase the fact that I won't be paying out my asshole for flowers sent from one country to the next and not even care because I love you, and,
that's what daughters do.
As if a single speech represented all the mistakes I made, shooting us into the past where a picture of you, laying blue-lipped and grey shell-skinned didn't send me into a panic attack that kept me up for three days straight.
I never wrote anything. I never wrote anything good enough.
He said he read something of mine, anyway.
He said there were over one hundred people who packed into a church made centuries ago to handle no more than fifty to hear him speak.
To remember you.
He said you would have loved what I wrote.

And I remember.
There is always a light.

Cross posted from my Dreamwidth journal. Comment wherever you like: http://elf-fu.dreamwidth.org/700362.html


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 8th, 2014 02:44 pm (UTC)
There is always light. Beautiful. *hug*
May. 8th, 2014 04:00 pm (UTC)
Darling woman, that's incredibly sad and beautiful. Hugs.
May. 8th, 2014 11:24 pm (UTC)
This is beautiful and touching. *hugs*
May. 11th, 2014 05:53 am (UTC)
So beautiful and heartfelt. XXOO
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )