Thursday, 24 of July of 2014

Karen Coulter – My Mother, The Earth

She is letting them take her away
to the surgeons’ knives
uncomplaining, saying it’s better than continuing
in excruciating pain
better to leave us to perpetuate life,
indignity tormenting.
Scars already almost meet
across her body
where her ankle structure was broken
then awkwardly repinned together
where the toxins created gall stones–
a deep slash across her belly
and the removal of her life-giving,
an invisible wound deep within.
The strain of surviving the mad rushing poisoned society
making brittle the fluid sliding joints,
creaking the once sensual movements–
rotations of earth on its axis,
the subtle tilting thrown askew.
Body failing to move, the blood can thicken,
clots bumping their way through narrow passages
to hearts and lungs, the intricate cycles
of breaking, pulsing delight and wonder
which gave birth to me
as to all my relations–
the algae growing in the sea,
the dolphins dancing,
bursting from depths to sky
in a shower of sparkling spray.
 
My mother knows all this
and smiles to me
as the boy with the stretcher says,
“You’ll have to say goodbye now.”
She purses her lips to kiss me
my hot tears start to well and spill
for the first time in her presence
as I touch her
and she is wheeled away
out of my control, my care
for she has chosen to risk dissolution
over contrived suffering.
She is everyone’s mother.
We are grown now, old enough to know–
I can’t allow her smile of hope to fade,
must learn from the earth while there is time–
and you?
With only one,
the ashes are scattered–
a lonely home,
then none
 
Karen Coulter
August 11, 1994


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