Grief at Sixty
by Karen Bingham Pape

The hard polished floor of the ICU
The alcohol smell of the foam
At the door to cleanse the hands
From contact with the loved and dying
The motions the visits the grind
Of finding the heart to see her fade
This mother of my former love
Clinging to me as a daughter—
Connections don’t break they bend
In the still after the storm when
You think love is lost forever—
You find a friend—mother-in-love--
Only to see her go into the shades
And onjecture and faith
Keep us strong. We bend but don’t
Break, shedding tears like salty
Rain and remembering courage.

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