There remains only the picture, endowed with this rich quality of immobility and of this lasting, enveloping silence. — Jean Guitton, The Madonna

Footsore this morning, like any other woman
Rising, setting breakfast on the table.
Lately though you’ve been more stiff,
Sleep has not found its swallowing flow.
You see yourself as someone’s shadow,
Shortening eastward, in-winding, wrapping.

Why is it you’ve begun to think your life
Is something other, a neighbor you once knew
Muttering at night deep tones of meditation?

You remember telling your daughter dying
Is losing the heaviness that comes on all of us,
An even distant blue beyond which forever.
You remember her resting her head on your lap.
Like dishes, you put away those days, days like
A great wall, the top of which you some day reach.

Daniel James Sundahl is Emeritus Professor in English and American Studies at Hillsdale College where he taught for thirty-three years.