Coming Up for Air
My little sister may not win her battle with cancer.
She says God asked her, Will you take a bullet for
your son? To her it means, Will you give your child
a life of strength, wisdom born of losing his mother?
When she speaks I hear the surf begin to roar.
The tide inside threatens to push me over.
I dive beneath the surface, search for a place
where answers hide; where a perfect orb,
layered in the right words glows iridescent
inside a crusted shell, waits for me to harvest,
roll between fingers, string beside others,
offer as a gift to her – warm and comforting.
But I lose my breath, come back up for air.
My son marries his love. I am Mother of the Groom,
buy the only strand of pearls I’ve ever owned.
Here, in the desert, I feel the ocean against my breast,
watch a hundred little suns rise in the palm of my hand.
I let go my grown child and hold on to this moment,
these drops of light, these worlds of wonder.
My mother dies, her life unstrung.
Before she passed I thought I had all the answers
about how she lived, why she died; how God and
everything and everyone is linked together in
one eternal round. I kneel by the bed,
wait for echoes of her voice, breathe deep
underwater quiet, hear whispers from a velvet box–
What you know is smaller than a pearl.
The Truth is bigger than the universe.