She half-stood after dinner, said
Six words and seized
Like the old Packard following
The shrieking squad car
With Annie in the back seat,
Her appendix rupturing, the oil light
Coming on, unnoticed.
Gabriella said Your mother is dead now,
We trundled her to her room,
Laid her down. I could swear
She was still breathing, but it was
Just the final bodily functions
Shutting down like gears freezing
Ungreased, the rattle of the
Radiator hissing its last
Exhalation. What was it she said
Standing there, surprised,
Her voice gone thick.
Last words. You expect
Profundity. Or an image:
The spiritual bird on an updraft.
Surely, I think now when the light suddenly
Flares and dims at the archway to
Something or nothing, in that ancient
Turtle mutter,a primeval tone
Before civilization mustered
Columns of rationality,
She might have enlightened us.
But there was nothing
Significant. Nothing to bequeath.
No evidence. She said
I want to go to bed
So firmly there was no denying
The order. We shouldered her
Into the darkness.