her bedroom window
looked out on the pine barren.
open, the air, cool, cleansing, cleared
up the rotting past. she was not
sure she wanted to finish dying.
she could glide out, not a spirit
or a ghost, a woman desperate
to be, desperate to leave her aged
broken body behind. this is not
a death-bed scene, but a
temporary stilling, a river dammed
but unstoppable, pushing, pushing
against its limitations, her body
merely a pile of uprooted tree
stumps, dead leaves, twigs. alone
she left no witnesses to her decay
naked under a sweat-drenched
quilt, inherited from her mother
blocks depicting farm scenes
plantings, harvestings, thanksgiving,
not depicting her mother’s ten
childbirths, the endless tasks,
the numbing late winter mornings,
constant tending of fire.
dying just another chore left undone.
the daughter will leave behind
her well-worn dirty slippers
faded violet cotton pajamas
her tawny bathrobe, soot-stained
from stoking the woodstove, bereft
garments, disordered, hastily
disgarded, as she if she were
trying to escape the saints in
the gold chariots directed
to preserve her, to resurrect her.
she thought, now i am not a mother
not a wife, but force, annihilation
havoc and ruin, something that is
and is not a woman, power
the thing i have been waiting for –
~ Alexander Perez