from Temazcal: The Steam House Chronicles

Last night, the weight of time and age

hit me like a freight train.

Not mine.
My mother's.

Retiring for the night,
she ambled across the room
hunched over like a bear
heading to her cave.

I gasped.

"I haven't noticed you slumping forward like that before. You okay?"

"I do this at night. It's this cancer medicine...and, my foot hurts."

She's cancer-free now
but she carries the scars of battle
like one of her Viking ancestors before her.

We looked at each other for the longest of silences.
A hard-to-name realization cascaded around us.
I still don't fully know what to call it, but a thought passed right through me:

I'm really not going to enjoy living as much after she's gone.

Her face beamed with a sudden smile.

"Hey. I'm okay. Mornings are better. It's only at night that I ache."

In that moment, I saw and understood
why some among the Skidi Pawnee call her Star Eyes.

She carries a medicine of soul-brightening.

I know I will need to kindle the same

for my own impending nights of aching.


(c) 2019 / Frank LaRue Owen / purelandpoetry.com

sound: Light and Mist / House Made of Dawn / Coyote Oldman

image: Andreas Wagner

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