Thursday, February 21, 2008

posting this one again

this poem was up here before, but I took it down because I thought it was too personal.
but today is the 4th anniversary of my mother's death and I felt I should pay tribute to her somehow because she deserves it.



she was proud of her hands, cut and file
and cutex and polish every few days.
The only thing my mother-in-law liked
about me were my hands she said. small and
delicate and ladylike,
although she didn’t think I was much of a lady, she said.
true or not, she believed it.

psoriasis made her scratch and it got under her nails and
made them tenuous like shingles in a hurricane.
the polish hid the decay.

she got sick quickly, and liked her hands to be held.
My hands were my best feature she said, not sure to believe
it anymore, looking at them now thin
and cold and rough and grey, like driftwood. with a hospital
bracelet collaring one. her birthdate printed there, hard not
to picture the end date, tombstone style.

the last days spent on the end of the sofa
her hands touching her hair, habit. The psoriasis is gone
she said. nothing left to scratch, gone due to the bullying
of other infections.
sifting through her bottles of medication, keeping the
hands busy, squinting at the labels, wondering how
these bright and cheerily coloured pills could
possibly keep her alive. Made up words she said
either beginning or ending with an X.

the last days spent on the end of the sofa
her hands moving the bottles of pills from
the tupperware container and back again.
pills clicking against the bottles like the
ticking of a clock too fast and irregular.
her hands picking them up and putting them down
and doing it again, looking for the right combination.
faster. like a chessplayer, pawn takes queen, moving
faster, anything to keep the hands from being stilled.

1 comment:

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