My mother’s feet scream with the agony
of her miserable condition,
underlying the disease that eats at her.
My feet, uncallused paddles,
slightly bent and fallen,
carry on with forgiving kindness.
My husband’s knees are red-hot pokers
shooting knife-sharp volts
with every rickety step he takes.
Mine like knots in the spindly
trunks that bear them
graciously allot me flexibility.
My father’s back grew weak with time
faltering in the end – unreliable –
as if he’d borne the weight of the world.
My back, not without its moaning,
carries me proudly, erect –
like the spring sapling, winter endured.
My uncle’s heart beats erratically,
ceasing despite its mechanical support;
his life a testimony to modern science.
My heart flutters with expectancy,
aches with disappointment,
and soars with each new birdsong.
My sister’s tension rises,
the stiffness in her neck suffocating,
headaches blinding her vision.
My neck, slung now like a rooster,
puffs around my face like an old friend,
allowing me the comfort of perspective.
My brother’s mind has seized,
lost somewhere between today
and yesteryear – never certain of either.
Mine, a constant churning cog,
gathers information, spews ideas
and bends in the face of creativity.
My eyes have seen the suffering of others;
my hands throbbed with a desire to help;
yet each bears their cross stoically,
and so I watch with compassion and gratitude
for a life I might have lived,
had my own vessel not been so blessed.