For her heart was pounding such
I thought it would leap from her chest
and fall flat onto the cold floor
to slide there to quivering extinction.
Her soul was shriveling such
that it twined and twisted upon a single thread-
its catchment snapping for the plunge into the river Styx.
Laid down in her cool night,
misted with early dew in her eyes
she grieved cold, cold upon cold;
her body shivering.
Vulture claws and talons reached
her Spiritual Keep
and sank their meanness deep
wounding the marrow
of where she lived-
all her treasures now exposed
and her Will raw-tested near impoverishment.
Yet I saw her there over time repose
and recompose and thrust away
the dreadful sight of a dead child-our mother,
birthed, she said from 72 hours labor-
and followed thereafter in days a husband dead
in cancer's clutch-
she sat alone, comfortless
as we children drew near in our bewilderment-
this sense of total demolishment shrouding all around.
Our eyes drew near; we could see
she began to shunt aside fear
from the Pity-Pyre to new resolve to live again
for the sake and betterment of us-the children.
Clear as the book and the page we could read
Grandmother began repairing heart and sinew,
face and spirit and like the phoenix bird
rises before us-new mission ensconced upon her clear.
Steel Purpose all in her she said:
'I shall be here children, no need to be afraid.'
This is what Grandmothers are for.'
Lonnie Hicks's Other Poems
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