Friday, June 20, 2008

Constant Companion

I wrote this poem in Spring 2007.

She is with me in the morning
When my first deep inhalation unleashes a convulsive effort to clear my lungs
And when I take my pills
Brown and beige, blue and white
And struggle to swallow them
And when I look in the mirror and see a face that isn’t the one I remember
And when I slip my now scrawny arms into my blue fleece robe and my feet into my white slippers
And when I amble down the stairs despite the protests of my joints

She is with me when I open the refrigerator door and reach for the milk
And my fingers turn blue and painful against the carton
And when I struggle to make the days lunches
And when my children board the bus as I watch from the dining room window where I clutch a steaming mug and gratefully curl my toes against the floor vent

I am never alone

When I struggle with my socks and pants zipper
When I choose my sweater for the day
When I bundle against the cold in a place that barely knows winter

She is with me on my morning commute as I wait for the heater to warm the car
And in my office when my fingers tap the keyboard
Gingerly, timidly, warily
Perhaps she sometimes feels neglected, forgotten and interjects herself mid-sentence or mid-meal
A cough here,
trouble swallowing there,
an annoyed shiver against a blast of cold air

She follows me home and interferes with the meal preparation that I crave as meditation
Cold vegetables
Knife handles
Jars and cans
Her arsenal in our little war
But I refuse to yield

She is there still when I put the kids to bed
I struggle to read aloud
And to lie with them
But the bedtime ritual stands against her like a flag in the wind

She hates when I sing
Or I try to run
Or play outside on a crisp fall day
She doesn’t like me to be too comfortable

She is greedy
And demanding
And insatiable

She pursues me doggedly
But she does not come empty-handed

She is steadfast
and learned
and patient

I have been an ungrateful and slow learner

She has taught me the rhythm of the seasons
To heed autumn’s call with warm soups and busy knitting needles
To succumb to winter’s hibernation
To welcome spring barefoot in the grass
To relish summer’s heat on my skin

She has taught me gratitude for all things great and small
Uninterrupted sleep
Flannel sheets
Hot showers
True friendship
Unconditional love
And to cherish the rapidly passing moments of my child’s lives
And to appreciate today rather than bank on tomorrow
And to accept that it is under life’s greatest pressures that we become transformed
Like a humble lump of coal

She has shown me that pain and suffering are great teachers
And that death is an integral part of life to be embraced in its rightful time rather than feared
And that true love endures all things

On a spring day I toil in the garden
I watch earthworms till the soil
These seemingly simple creatures that turn dirt into a medium in which life flourishes
I hear the cricket’s song
I marvel at the scarlet wings and creamsicle beak of cardinal and a mauve-breasted blue bird
While the daffodils, hyacinths and tupils perform spring’s overture
Miracles abound

She is with me
As I wait on a prayer that has already been answered
I am alive.

1 comment:

Glunn11 said...

That was truly beautiful. Thank you.