“Legacy” by Tricia McCallum





The afternoon is fading.

Your naps are longer than ever,

the times you are alert

grow more precious.

Your lips move erratically

in sleep.

Before you wake this time

I memorize your face,

bathed in summer light,

aristocratic still.


I wish I could give you

your due, mother,

carve the language in tribute

just so,

detail the riches you leave to me,

give your life back to you

in radiant verse.


Oh, to be a poet

I say lightly when she stirs;

I'd write you something lovely.

As I prop her pillows and smooth her hair

she stares into my face.

You are my poem, she says softly

and I laugh, dismissing it.


You are my poem,

she says again,

forcefully this time,

pausing between each word.