My 39-year-old self had no idea what my 70-year-old
mother’s body was screaming when she opened her eyes

in the ICU and said, I’m in agony. Multiple arteries
rerouted to her drowning heart, pain meds reduced

to keep that muscle kicking. Kicking as I once did in a womb
now a shriveled sack of nothing. Like the legs that hear nothing

from her brain, a brain that no longer listens to a daughter
saying I will be back day after tomorrow. I have a long drive home

to the children. You know, Mother, your grandbabies. She turned
those sunken blue eyes that once blazed and said, Hold my hand.