I Shall Not See Her Again In This Light
In the beginning, it was like any other month,
but there were missing figures on the ledger where
the facts should have been. And her fingers
curled clumsily when she stretched to pull
the chain while turning on her bedside light,
which was needed to warm up from the rain.
November in Kansas still brings rain.
It’s funny that way, how the month
is still changing over to snow, and the light
fades to almost nothing. She wonders where
it’s gone--her brain has a hard time trying to pull
up facts and sort reality with cold, cramped fingers.
And that’s just it. It was the tremor in her fingers
that betrayed her, not the limp or the rain.
Though my mother said it hurt like hell to watch her pull
her left leg around like a lame dog that’s been leashed for a month
to the back of the shed, baying at the moon, where
were the owners, couldn’t they have left on a light?
By January, solstice returns the light
illuminating her bare head and boney fingers.
And the question of treatment no longer centers on where,
but how much more? We wonder if she’ll hold on until the rain
falls again in spring. We stop counting each month
and begin numbering weeks as we feel the moon’s pull
strengthening its grip. We watch the pull
tab on her zipper pinch sagging skin leaving her light
headed and gasping. It’s the last month
I see her with moving lips and fingers.
From the south, clouds again move in to rain
on our cap-less heads as we wander aimless, to nowhere.
April holds no refuge. There is no where
to run to avoid this dizzying pain, the pull
to wrap up in fantasy falls like rain.
Each new day is one step closer to her celestial light.
She listens to father murmuring “Hail Mary, full of grace…” as he fingers
his rosary, begging the Blessed Virgin to end this month.
Sunlight follows rain. And though she doesn’t know where,
in this new month, she accepts the sempiternal pull
toward the light and spreads her arms and fingers.