after "Negative" by Wislawa Szymborska in Miracle Fair:
Preparing to Sleep in My Mother’s Bed
I’m reclining on a soft white sheet—
posies of blue and yellow,
pale blue polkadots screening ground.
Your bed: high, firm, narrow,
a creamy wool afghan with a broad red stripe,
your fringe and your knitting.
I’m remembering the night you maneuvered
your walker past the commode to the bathroom
and fell on cracked pink tile.
How one decision becomes the last
act of free will. How gravity
and old bones conspire.
Then well-worn formulas resolve the play:
emergency medics, practiced surgeons,
recovery pretending toward rehabilitation,
but no more going home, no, not in the script
due to danger to self.
Here lies safety without fanfare,
bed rails in the dark. They confide
a freefall last line:
after "Endings" by Eavan Boland in An Origin Like Water:
Carry On Baggage
A plane flares through the night.
The pilot doesn’t know me
yet holds my life with his own.
Long dark space
the bright stars tremble in:
Castor and Pollux—
Orion, the Great Bear—
Back in coach
of those I have ventured with:
in a hand
and bowled over
in the wine-dark sea.