Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Day My Doctor Died

I did not know he was gone

as I harvested seeds from

spent love-in-a mist

and worried

that the size of my family

increased the chances exponentially

for injury and death.

The day before a woman,

whom I hardly knew, grasped my arm

with hopeful fingers

when told I had 14 grandkids.

“Do you have a favorite?”

she asked. “Yes,” I demurred,

“ but the favored one

changes frequently.”

She parried,

“My favorite is in coma.”

The day my doctor died,

I sat on a rolling yard caddy

plucking dried seed pods

crushing their bulbous heads

releasing tiny black seeds

into a Cool Whip container

and imagined my loved ones

hurt or dying.

On the other side of town,

the man who had tended all our family ills:

pneumonia and earaches,

rashes and whopping cough,

broken arms and broken leg,

retained placenta,

morbid staph infection,

congestive heart failure,

had died in his sleep.

He had caught our babies,

and told us in a gentle, measured cadence,

“You need to prepare for your mother’s death.”

The day my doctor died,

I collected seeds to sow.

A hot August breeze rushed

about my bare shoulders.

A plastic tub sat at my feet

filled with seeds and crumbled pods,

the fruit of delicate spring flowers,

the propagation of countless

tender encounters.

1 comment:

Jennie Lou said...

A tearful thank you for writing this.