Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Last Time I Saw Mom Alive

A Mexican musician
Held his high tenor
An impossibly long time
As we got drunk
On margaritas and beer.

Later,
My brother-in-law and I danced
Under his tall trees' green canopy,
Fluorescent against the night's soft sky.

The music?
I'm thinking Commodores:
"Brick House."

And us?
We laughed, muttered,
Staggered in circles,
Tried on faces and voices,
All across the wide backyard.

My mom was
In a suburban rest home
Not far away,

Up on the top floor
In a sheltered wing
Called Comfort Cove.

The next day,
Before the long ride home,
I paid her a final call.

There was only TV noise
In the dayroom,
And residents still as statues.

Mom was lying curled up,
On top a fake leather sofa—
Tiny,
Like a child
Wearing clothes that were too big.

I sat on the floor
And took her hand.
She opened bright, blue,
Watering eyes,
Smiled into mine,
And whispered softly,
“I love you,
“I love you,"

“I love you,”
Over and over
And over again.

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