My mother stares into ceiling tiles above
her hospital bed. Her chin quivers inside
an oxygen-mask. Death glazes her gray eyes,
past space and time in search of an exit. She
exhales. My mouth opens to catch warmth released.
Each exhalation carries sounds as she empties
earthbound air. I sit by her bedside, a bird,
mouth open, waiting. Her body begins
a struggle to find an ending. She utters mantra sounds
Ma Ma Ma until her breathing slows. Afraid to move
into her unknown I dare not swallow or speak.

Her death-bed face becomes her deceased mother’s face.
Her mother comes, fetches her, frees her, claims her daughter,
a girl she watched skate and dance through New York winters.

Today my mother flies into an unknown holding space, a place
of color older than air, with blue skies tacked into place
without super-glue, where words find voice clothed
in clover-patch music on the back forty of her mind, and lives
recycle, return, recover, and again find reflections in a summer pond.