Tuesday, October 27, 2020

The Incredible Shrinking Woman

My mother has beautiful bone structure 

I can see it

with every pound she loses

Her skull reveals itself 

bones pushing against her skin from the inside

Temporal ridges connect to her cheekbones 

which connect to her jaw 

which connects to the outlines of her dentures 

Her eyes peer out

wide and strong

shining silver 

like dancing ghosts

saying I know my body is shrinking 

but I will never die

I know she is scared of death

but she has never been scared of life

We all wish for swift and painless 

but death is rarely fast

Just like birth

from the beginning

we watch the soft curves

of the abdomen grow

physically appearing 

And in the end 

we watch the soft skin

wrinkle and thin

The body withers and waifs

physically disappearing 

No one should have to disappear 

before they have to

Good girls read faces like manuscripts

staying one step ahead

to avoid whatever wrath of disapproval awaits

Good boys become the familiars

of their fathers

mimicking postures and performance

to avoid whatever wrath of disapproval awaits

Burning both sides 

of this generations coin

Enabling the power dynamics

of our ancestors 

to continue to dance

Wrapping my arms 

around my 9 year old nephew 

and my 60 year old mother

is not much different 

The size of my embrace 

and the caress of delicate ribs

feels about the same

My panic to adequately 

express my love 

wells up in my throat

and the strength of my bear hug 

is fought

by the squirm of youth

or the fragility of frail

I grew up fighting fierce hugs from my mother 

Her tight grip

never ready to let go 

But now that her strength is less

I fill with regret 

Squirming in my youth

Always being the first to pull away 

But now all I want to do is reach

And uplift

And encourage 

And show  

my nephew

that she can stop shrinking

for everyone else.  

Thursday, October 22, 2020