I start I wake wet
With sweat as was my wont
For two weeks now. Two faces
Yellow in the candlelight, my father and my brother
Look down on me and I read their eyes.
One says ‘Come’
I follow as if mesmerized: the journey is not far but
Slow and silent (there is no need for words).
Candle flames cast shadows stirring
My mind’s eye with scenes
Of days gone by I see myself; a little boy
Runs screaming from a snake, fear sped and
Falls exhausted into comforting arms.
Wracked with fever robbed of sleep
In bed he lies, cool cloths and
Salves on his brow and body placed
Cared for, cuddled…
The click of gate breaks into my thoughts
As we near our goal –a house
Dimly lit; we tread with weary feet and in
The gloom I reach the bed and fall with a cry and
Touch the lifeless form I cannot now
Or ever call ‘Mother’.
First published in ‘Whispers on the Wind’ by The Poetry Institute of Canada in 2009.