Left alone on Mama’s bed, in Mama’s room –
while I heard Grandmother’s feet – black tied shoes
prance above my head –
behind the old wooden door – I thought a bear was standing there
it was a fur coat hanging from a metal hook.
I talked to God – a child alone, afraid of the dark
as tears moistened clean white sheets – I pushed a feather
pillow far from me – it was God I needed –
“God,” I screamed in silence, from the inside out –
“Please God, take me first, I can leave, don’t take those
who love me, please.”
Five, and I thought I knew enough – I could not be alone – as I stretched
my arms grabbing at the pillow I pushed away, sobbing on feathers – no one heard.
I pictured my Mother’s red velvet couch, old – worn – in her hands old
knitting needles – heard them clang – as her glasses fell from her Irish face.
Today I am a Mother too – and I watched as my Mother died – one month, every inch
of her seemed to crumble into pieces.
She fought for thirty days – it was that Irish will that kept her alive.
I thought about when I was five, talking to you, God – you never listened when
I told you – as a child, please take me first. You knew the love I had left to share.