Wednesday, July 2, 2008


------Reta May Keeler (01/11/1912 - 01/24/2004)

In your beginning was the blood and breath,
the sharp inhalation of the carnal chaos of life.
Born 6 lb., 6 oz. in the pubescence of a century
of unprecedented carnage and creativity,
the state marked the occasion with certificate 12‑05‑037696.

In the unelectric world,
devoid of devices of diversion,
you flourished in family
and began your career
pushing placenta and parenthood
onto the open palm of life,
swaddling your children in an abundance
of cuddles, caresses and embraces.

And so you earned
your Bachelor of Mom degree,
graduating into grandchildren
for the Masters of Mom,
but the world wasn't finished
with your dissertation of lineage
and great grandchildren won you
the Doctorate of Motherhood

As I walked along the avenue of my life,
a time came when my knees weakened
(a fallen leaf on the sidewalk)
then onset type2 diabetes
(another leaf on the pavement)
then diminishing virility
(another fallen leaf)
then a stroke
(a litter of leaves)
My trees are not yet barren
because it is September,
but for you, my mother,
a cold wind swept down
with January ferocity,
liberating your soul
for post‑graduate work with the angels.

Your spirit is a kite tethered with umbilical love
and gentle unto the good days,
memories like random breezes tug
-- what is the wind but a woman
loving us with caressing directions.

Your life straddled two millennia.
Your children born in peacetime
bracketed the world's worst war;
so I enjoyed your memories
of the pre‑tek world,
of the pre‑penicillin world;
from pre‑flight to post‑lunar landings,
your life was grounded
graceful as a backyard garden.

I regularly visited to mine your memories,
plucking nuanced nuggets of ageless gossip.

On the weekend of your death
I meant to ask you about your first kiss
but you replied with your last three diminishing breaths,
like the ellipsed ending of a love long life sentence...

Defiant of Death Certificate 422‑372‑045
you will remain an unfinished poem
carried into the interstellar future
on the crest of code of dna,
forever in a state of becoming...

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