Father’s words woke us,
he stood on the threshold of our bedroom
our lives a fulcrum till he spoke
then the dreadful balance tilted
my sister blocked her ears
Her long drawn out
Noooooo
reverberating round the room
broke us.

I lay marooned, motherless,
my bed, an island adrift,
his words a tidemark lapping at me
threatening to breach the bulwark.

With the receding tide I came ashore
different than before
and softly went to mother’s room.
Rigor Mortis had set in, she lay
curled, her hands contorted
as if reaching for breath
somewhere way beyond her.

Atropos had been busy here last night,
and with golden shears had severed
the thread of life.
Later women came and laid her body out;
dressed her in a brown habit
and unclenched those hands,
joined them serenely and bound them around
with rosary beads.

I removed her thin gold band, it slipped off easy
and loosely circled my slim girl’s fingers.
Now with age its golden grip tightens.
I journey on.