aging · Family · poetry · relationships · writing

Waiting on Heaven

“My children have come home to watch me die,”
she tells her doctor, repeats to me, #5, when I arrive.

“You leave the world the same you came in,” Doc said,
as if that makes sense, as if that offers comfort.

“We don’t want to see you suffer anymore,” I offer.
She agrees, tired of the pain.  92 and nothing but pain.

It’s not death that she fears – she’s ready –
it’s the dying – not knowing how it will happen.

“Will you be with me? When the time comes.”
I will.  Just as I did with a sister, two cousins,
father, an aunt, and countless others.

“Angel of Death,” a nurse called me once.
I shrugged: “Would you want to die alone?”

Death, I do know, is like birth,
in that the timing is unpredictable.

So, together, we’ll wait –
biding our time, talking about the present,
reflecting on the past, wondering what lies ahead.

Not all transitions, I’ve learned, are alike.

(I’ve returned home to be at my mother’s side, although, as the poem indicates, she may survive the current setback.  I’m linking this up to Manic Mondays 3 way prompt: reflection, and my own weekly challenge: transition.)

 

change · creativity · poetry · writing

Pivotal Moment

Two babies, two cars, a mortgage, and depression I just couldn’t shake.  What was wrong with me, I wondered.  Was I missing something?  Is there more to life, I’m not seeing?  I prayed to the Heavens.

Six months, I dreamt of returning to my childhood home.  Every time, I remarked the same changes: the blue wall-to-wall carpet was replaced with red in the living and dining rooms, and geometric patterns running up the stairs; and one wall in my sister’s old bedroom was bricked.  Whereas we had a dog, the dream residents had a cat.  Always, I would exit through the back door, where I would fall and jolt awake.

One day, driving past the place, I noted an Open House sign and went in.  There was the red carpet, the designs on the stairs, and the bricked wall in my sister’s old room.
Shaken, I passed the cat in my haste to exit – out the front door.

Ask and be answered –
Source listened, and delivered –
a resounding “Yes!”

(Written for dVerse pub, hosted tonight by Merrill.  The challenge is to write a haibun on the topic of transition.  I am also linking this to my weekly challenge, where the prompt is veil.  Although I did not use the term in this piece, I felt as if a veil had been lifted.)

change · life · poetry · travel · writing

Moving

Outside, clouds hover,
heavy, threatening.

Inside, men haul –
china cabinet,
weathered couch –

accumulation
marking years,
exiting under duress

echoes fill in the spaces

scent of soured sweat lingers

kitchen counters
glare, empty

layers of our lives
stripped away

our vacated shell,
an emotional tug

Is it fear?  Sorrow?

What was it all about anyway?

closing the door behind us
locking memories in the past

we load our small boxes
essentials for a simpler life –
a home on wheels life

point our nose forward
and drive away
as the sun breaks through.

(A year ago, we sold our bricks and sticks house, along with its contents and moved into a motor home.  Now we are reversing the process – accumulating and setting up house again.  Apparently, we like change.  V.J’s weekly challenge is fittingly about home.)

aging · culture · life · poetry · relationships · travel

Is Progress This?

Is this progress,
this decision to uproot,
caste possessions aside,
free ourselves of ties?

Can his dependency,
my dependency, endure
the transition, released
from former justifications?

We are companions
embarking on adventure,
companions retiring past
lies, redefining possibility

or is this more of the same,
artfully camouflaged –
a continuance of flight
from tyrannical origins?

The paths behind are jagged,
wrought with rocks and crevices
and scarred riddles, and yet,
have we not survived, thrived?

The road ahead is expansive
our home an ever-changing
landscape as wide as a continent
our minds eager to absorb…

this is progress,
we are unburdened,
free-spirited, submitting
to new tests of truth.

(Image: www.ebookers.com)

 

aging · culture · life · poetry

Retirement

Sought-out careers stagnant
communication with colleagues
soaked with commitments –
underlying imposed courtesy

we are doubly dependent –
mutual caregivers supporting
water treading, our authority
drowning in preset obligations

Past dwellings, connections
sopped with history, hold on –
leftover dregs, stale-dated –
their validity disappearing,

We are overcoming, debriefing,
navigating release, minimilizing
plan to alter direction, trade
accommodations, rest willingly

have boarded sanctity – a timely
cubicle of release, slotting an exit,
having transformed belonging –
are wrung out seeking drier ground.

 

adversity · aging · Love · poetry · relationships

Absence

Slippers, perched at night stand,
twitching impatiently,
mark the absence of feet,
cannot appreciate the meaning
of unruffled bed covers.

Abandoned, a coffee mug
bemoans its curdling contents,
complains of thick brown lines
contaminating its porcelain shine,
has not noted absence of hands.

Chair, pushed back from desk,
in partial rotation, sits awkwardly,
commanding attention, disturbed
by its misalignment, has not thought
to ponder absence of body.

House, uncomfortable with silence
creaks unnaturally, loudly voicing
objections to the absence of footfalls,
automated machinery and incessant
rings, beeps, and chimes of technology.

I try to reassure them that the absence
is only temporary, that the man whose
presence so strikingly fills this space
will return,  hope they cannot read
the apprehension in my tremulous heart.