“Courage is grace under pressure.” - Ernest Hemmingway
My mother needs replumbing.
Its her heart - it wrestles with globs of
klondike bars, angry daughters,
medium rare marbled beef,
dusty secrets, tired grief.
Clutter collected for decades in discreet passages -
those dark catacombs, out of sight.
Tough love doesn’t work for her.
With kid gloves she escorts everything through the front door.
Here’s a warm hearth,
air of cinnamon and raisins,
comfort of paisley pillows .
It’s no wonder a generous heart struggles.
If seven liters were all her heart must push from head to heart to hand.
she’d be dancing up
the gentle rise of Johnson Street
even at eighty three.
But a heart can only bear so much.
Perhaps she will live to one hundred.
If only she screws up the courage to say yes to a split sternum,
yes to fresh pipes stitched around the tired ones,
yes to certain pain,
She’ll tell you no courage required, only grace -
She wants what carried soldiers into Pickett’s Charge,
what led Amelia across the south Pacific.
And make sure it’s in the surgeons’ hands
there's stories still to share.
--rm mist 2012