Mother in-law

(Lee in Threes)

I stood behind you while you died.

What’s a three letter word for style? 
We never talked about these things.
Still you let me know that you saw me
You had three sons. You loved,
danced and wore your life out.
Ninety-one. Cancer four times.

There is a moment between
the last breath and perception.
Before the people in the room
know that the life is gone.
It is in that gap that I see you.

Who you are and who you are not.
What was there and what is no longer.
You were a girl and a woman,
then an old woman.

Bound by skin and culture
wrapped tight with ropes tied
by a critical mother, also bound.

Your first sense of yourself
was your face reflected in the
glass eye of father, husband and sons.
Seeing only some part of the whole.
Body not brain, face, not poet, clothes not soul.

What is a twelve letter word for
unimaginable? Your eyes were fixed
on design and pattern. Sometimes you
told your story in riddles. Mind agitated.

Lee you tunneled out of your mother’s house
with a spoon. To Roy and the babies,
to the only life that made sense at the time.
Your life by white framed snapshots.

Lively smile and big bouff ant hair.
Smiling eyes, Eyes.
 Always your body
in action.

I saw that moment while the ropes loosened
The body was no more.
Faded photos of your choices,
not shown and never spoken of

What is a seven letter word for an inner-life
Unexpressed? Three sons, men who
Carry the exact replica of your DNA,
(all the mothers in your line) in the furnace of
each cell.

No daughters though for you
to bind. That came later.
Through sons and the next husband
You judged those wives of sons.

Not me though. We saw each other.
Recognized the other.
I stood behind you while you died -
Oh sorry, I said the “D” word.

What is a three letter word for
the inevitable? I had your back,
Lee. She fought till the end.
They will say that about you.

What that means, really between
the words is that you were brave
when it was required.

You danced, travelled and wore diamonds.
Until the real business got started.
A four letter word for goodbye?

annie fahy ©2017