The wheelchair waits beside the Christmas tree,
one of those cheap firs from Safeway, thin,
spindly, dropping its needles on the carpet.
In the wheelchair is my mother,
wrapped in a fading housecoat of spring flowers,
so small and pale. The threads fall from their dull petals.
Her gray hair hangs like tinsel from the five and dime.
She is as fragile as the last antique ornament,
a small country church covered in snow. From its steeple
it hangs by one thin wire and a bending branch.
She is forty-six and looks like ninety.
She waits beside the tree like a dove for
the sound of footsteps in the fallen leaves.
From Text and Commentary, Mandala Publications, 1993.
For my thoughts about writing this poem, follow this link.