My mother is calcifying into a hull of herself,
but who else sees her white hands, or her toes
that ache from the weight of one scratchy sheet,
or how the catheter tubes and I.V. needles
make her seem like a starving porcupine?
I walk outside trying not to step on a single
insect, ant, mite, or spider. I am not a Sikh,
but I respect the frail intricacies, the accidental
patterns that have graced this world with geometry.
I bow to the sidewalk and touch the concrete
as if I were touching my toes in P.E., as if I were
limbering before Wimbledon, and for some reason
HORSE comes to mind. I used to let my son win.
Now he is eighteen and blazes in fury, erupts.
And this is my doing. I created this. I have a stake in this,
and I can say many things without reproach, and I can say
to him, "I am sorry," and "I didn't mean to." My mother
will pass, as we all will. Yet I can't stop myself from
throwing my own tantrums, telling them they have
to do something, you must bring her out of this.
This is exactly what she must have thought at some
point, when I fell from the picnic table and bashed
my face against the ground, or fell from my bike,
and cried, and she didn't want to reach out to pick me up,
and yet she did, and then she walked away with me.