hospice…

The Heron’s Nest, Volume XVIII, Number 2: June 2016

 

1-hospice haiku

 

 

Brushing Your Hair

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Brushing Your Hair

In the last month you ask me a favor.
Will I brush your hair when you have passed?
You seem to want to greet whatever comes
looking your best. I give my promise.

Each day when I come home, I offer
to brush your hair, but you say no,
maintaining the independence
you have always shown.

Later, in hospice, I no longer ask.
I hold your hands, rubbing lotion in,
skin so fragile, like a butterfly wing.
It is time now to make the last ablutions.

I clean your face and brush your hair,
your sleeping eyes flicker
under paper-thin lids, pale blue veins
tracing their course across them.

I imagine your mother tenderly holding you,
stroking your cheek, watching you dream
in her arms—her newborn daughter
with milky breath.

Ninety-one years separate us, your two watchers.
One joyously bringing you into the world;
the other sitting silently in the dim-lit room,
keeping watch over you through the night.          

 

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The poem, “Brushing Your Hair” is from my chapbook, Erasing the Doubt (c) 2015, Finishing Line Press.