Seen enough? « Back

Death is never a single end
but a collection of ends that are ordinarily
so tightly bound together they appear as one.


I.

It is the columbines and blue flax that remind me
not poppies with their flaming petals. Purple
lilacs and old fashioned roses make tears flow.
I look up into the yellow gopher teeth of my grief.
I need to see but I want to hide.
Perhaps, I could ask you to lash
my eyes open so that I can see fully.

Mom used to say, "Seen enough?" when she was ready to go.
When she had studied detail of bird with her binoculars,
She'd lower her head and her voice. Seen enough?

She took pictures of every place. We'd sit quietly
look at photos of Arizona or the Mississippi River.
She'd say, "Seen enough?" and go to fix dinner.

II.

One visit, for three identical days -
breakfast at eight o'clock, pills, dishes
a drive down Beach Loop.

Dad goes for coffee. I sit still and wait
for her.
I bake pumpkin pie
scrub the kitchen, clean the refrigerator,
wash dishes, fold and comfort the laundry
water amaryllis, hear dogs bark
listen to country music,
look across at the neighbor's house.

She says, "I'm a nuisance."
"This disease is changing my nature."
Truer words were never said.
Her nature was warm, kittens in sun
sweet as bourbon and seven.

III.

She asks - Seen Enough? She is ready to be driven
down the coast, to another pullout to look out the
car window at waves, sanderlings and gulls.

Yes, yes, we have seen enough
enough to last a lifetime. I look over
and over at her photos. I have seen enough of the hospital,
enough of the aching
enough of the pain,
enough.

IV.

She is like sea lion on rock,
sedentary, she can't move her head.
She has seen enough miserable
old rain, the terrible old man of grey,
grey day. She has seen enough.

V.

I've not seen enough. Not enough
of the heart shaped aspen leaves
or the small blue butterflies.
I have not seen enough of the gold finch,
Big thunderclouds
or swallows.
See them fly over our heads.