The process of sorting and packing uncovers many surprises. I found this poem (I hardly ever write poetry) I wrote in 1996 when my mom was in the hospital about a month from death. Our relationship was difficult — she was difficult and very messed up, much more than I knew when I wrote this poem. I spent as much time as I could with her in the hospital. Otherwise I was driving or slogging through the snowy and icy streets of Billings, MT, looking for a nursing home where she could live after she was discharged. I loved my mom — but, as with many loves, it was not unalloyed with sadness and even hatred.
Winter light fades,
Short days shorten, then are gone
The last beam of a dogged sun
Bends ’round the pines
You press my hand against your lips
And drift into sleep.
The afternoon slips away.
Tulips on the windowsill and get-well cards can’t stop