Mother’s feet scream –
agony of her miserable condition,
underlying disease eating her.
My feet, free of calluses,
paddles slightly bent and fallen,
carry on with forgiving kindness.
Husband’s knees are red-hot pokers
shooting knife-sharp volts
with every rickety step.
Mine are knots in spindly
trunks that bear movement
graciously, allot me flexibility.
Father’s back grew weak
faltering in the end, hunched,
as if he’d born a cumbersome burden.
My back, not without its moaning,
carries me proudly erect –
like the spring sapling, winter endured.
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.
Sister’s tension rises,
the stiffness in her neck suffocating,
headaches blinding her vision.
My neck, slung now like a rooster’s,
puffs around my face like an old friend,
allows me the comfort of perspective.
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 suffering,
my hands throbbed with desire to help;
yet each bears their cross stoically,
and so I watch with compassion
and gratitude for the life I might have lived,
had my own vessel not been so blessed.
(This is an edited version of an earlier post by the same name.)