“Watch and wait for the changing of land; the trees bend over, the
grasses lay down, and you bow your head to the dirt. Ashes to
ashes, dust to dust, and nothing is as it should be.”

I sat with my knees pulled up on the deck chair at my mother’s house.  The swallows were back – the first I’d seen of the season – and they were frantic with irresponsible joy.  They looped the pines and rocketed upward as my mom described the way it felt to hold your mother’s hand as she died.

“I stroked her hair and hummed old hymns.”  She blinked her clouded eyes toward the birds.  “Like she did for me when I was born.”

The birds spun and so did I as we remembered the night that I told her goodbye.  My women had come to my door with popcorn, Kleenex, and a Hugh Jackman flick: the holy trinity of grief.  They’d held vigil for me while I curled in a chair and dialed the number to my grandmother’s room.  Her mind was gone, and we knew she saw through a glass, dimly.  From across the world, I read to her the poetry of psalms.  I knew she didn’t know what it meant but I begged God for peace in the cadence of prayers – the rhythmic “shhh” of a loved one’s voice.

There is nothing quite like thanking the dying for the gift of their living.

I pulled a blanket over my head and wept.  The sky followed suit: darkening, clouding, raging.

And then the tornado descended.

Sometimes the earth mourns in poetry, and all you can do is transcribe its groan.

So I did.  And tomorrow, it will be released in The Mudroom.  Their April edition explores storms and squalls and broken hearts.  So this poem has found the right home.

Check it out tomorrow, at The Mudroom.

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