On Mother’s Day by Robert S. King


Years after I last saw you
posed in a silk-lined box,
I try to remember you gliding
through younger days. I try to recall
things you said, your accent, gestures,
what caused a smile and what broke
your heart into pieces of burning coal.

But what I remember most is last
when you changed into someone
no one knew, when you changed me
into someone new while every heart
around you pumped tears and shadows
glided lost along the walls.

I curse Mother Nature that one must die
in pain, curse the locomotive on which we
labor and pass away. I hurt that in the end you
did not know me or yourself. You fell into
the furnace of your own heart, trying to stoke
from it another beat, just this last labor after all
the fires you tended, after all the ashes
you scattered settled down in the ashcan of hell.

Despite disbelief, I pray:
May hell be no more than a dream we pass through.
Beyond it, I hope you have found another
body to fit your peaceful soul.
But from my window, not even
your last breath was gentle.
It labored more like the clack
of trains fading into the distance.

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4 Responses to “On Mother’s Day by Robert S. King”

  1. Barbara Gabriel Says:

    Your poem left me remembering why I don’t believe in hell: life itself is sometimes hell enough. Thank you for this punch.

  2. Such feeling! I know that feeling too well.

  3. Anne Muccino Says:

    How beautifully and succintly put: ‘…when you changed into someone no one knew, when you changed me…’ I deplore this way of dying; being ravaged by a disease so that your last memories of a loved one are of someone you don’t recognize at all. Wonderfully written.

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