Fall 2009 / Issues / Poetry 2009 / Volume 40

My Mother’s Bones — C B Follett

Inside her skin my mother’s bones

are crumbling into shards.

Only taut skin seems to hold

her skeleton together.

In her tenth decade

the body is in retreat.

In June, she fell

first one way, then the other

banging against everything she had

against everything she owned

landing on a hip porous as pumice.

No one could open her door.

After a longer-than-daylight hour

firemen broke it down.

It scared her, all of us, and although

the hip didn’t break, it broke her spirit,

resigned her into the health center,

loss of dignity, privacy — a life sentence.

We watch Jeopardy together,

she knows the answers, could

be a TV millionaire,

but her body can’t keep up.

Yesterday, she fell backward

over a giving-way leg,

hit her head and somewhere

along the calcified hip bone

something finally cracked.

I feel her traitorous bone

in my innards, gnawing like

a fox in a leg-trap.

I am once again, far away

across the Continental Divide

just trying to do what’s right.

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