True, about my brother-in-law, Robert.
For decades he’s attended to mom, now ninety-four
with legs thin as her walker and veins
thick as her wrists, glacial blue rivulets trickling
toward her heart. She maneuvers between chairs
to the table. Cream of Wheat, finger tested,
waits as she gropes for a spoon. He butters toast.
Her vision only works askew.
He rests, smoking on the porch. The orange tree
is barren at the crown. Two lime lizards glare
and swell red throats on a branch, heads bobbing.
The other tree, a sawn stump, still fills its space.
She navigates to the couch and reclines.
Crushing a butt, he washes her bowl and cup,
then drapes her feet with a sweater.
Her eyelids flutter, seal. She winces.
Pain pierces her cracked rib but it’s healing.
In Madonna’s embrace she rests.
He signs, watches her fragile chest barely lift
her lace smock. He covers her with a cotton quilt.
Days erode like columns in Greek ruins.
Her last breath expires.
The Comforter has always watched his station
from room to room,