by thea marie
For the love of someone very precious to me.
She is ninety-one, my grandmother,
A wizened, shriveled relic of a woman.
A shadow of the handsome, vital person
She once was to me.
I watch her sleep,
So small and fetal,
Helpless and frail,
And I think.
How badly time robs,
While at the same time enriching;
Dulling youthful glow,
While magnifying inner splendor.
Radiating like a beacon,
That wisdom gained from experience
Speaks to the hearts of those younger,
A subtle metaphor of what is
Truly lasting and genuine.
I watch her sleep, my grandmother,
Once so loquacious and effervescent
So active, and so loving,
Now quiet and sober.
Saying little when awake, and hearing even less,
And I wonder.
What does she see behind those unseeing eyes?
Is she frightened inside the unnatural silence
Of near-deaf ears?
Her mind is still sharp,
But is that a help or a hindrance
In a failing body that no longer does its bidding?
Does death frighten her, or
Is she calling for it to come take her by the hand?
I want to ask her, my grandmother.
We could always talk, she and I.
But this matter is not my business.
It is not my turn,
And if I were to ask her,
She would tell me that I cannot know
Until it is my time.
Although I am long grown up,
To her, I am but a child
Who must stay in a child’s place for the moment.
So I sit, and I watch over her,
As she once watched over me.
And I think and I wonder,
Pretending that I wait for her to wake,
But secretly wishing her a gentle release
While she peacefully slumbers.