A Better Day

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Two salient themes, the SalonZ examination of madness, and looming Mother’s Day, made this inescapable. It’s rough. But its real. I miss my mother, very much.

——

The first time my mother snapped at me,
like some stereotype
old and sick before her time, I knew
in a place deep enough to hide the fact from even myself
that the woman I knew as Mom was gone.

When all she’d do all day was stare past her tiny tv
out her window to the world
and object when I, parrotting the words she’d used on me as a child,
with the love she taught me,
would suggest we sit awhile outside, or go for a walk.
She would object that maybe tomorrow would be better
And no, she just didn’t feel up to eating
Maybe later she’d be hungry, when she felt better.

We’d watch the dinnertime news and Jeopardy together.
She’d always win.
We’d cry for the latest child lost at the hands of those who should love them best,
the empath’s lament that it’s all too much, the weight of this world.
The price of glimpsing its joy is to know its horrors.

She sat by her window and waited for a better day
until she wasted away to 65 pounds,
pallid, eyes greyed, wild haired,
until anywhere or anytime else seemed better than this one
until she’d made some sort of peace with her disappointment
and finally understood that no better was day coming.

For all her quiet fierceness most of her life,
For all her stoic acceptance of tragedy and rotten luck,
For all her intellectual prowess and might,
She left this life bewildered
abandoned by her god
bereft of her cherished reason and logic.
Her tiny body had digested them for food.

She willed herself to lucidity
for a few spare moments that last month,
Tied up loose ends with us all.
Released us,
Then let go.
She was tired, so tired,
of waiting for a better day.

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