Sally O’Dowd is the author of the poetry collection Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Other Tales of Love and Loss.
I lie on the floor where your hospice bed
used to be,
now space and its feathers,
thinking of the time I crawled in beside you,
our hands together,
my head on your shoulder,
yesterdays and tomorrows streaming down my face,
knowing the moment was coming.
Here, two weeks ago,
asleep with visions,
you waved your arms in the air.
“There’s silverware over there.
I don’t know; I must be dreaming.”
Twice you asked who was there.
“You mean the light fixture at the stairs?”
“No,” you said, “over there.”
“I don’t know, mom. I can’t see.”
“Who is standing to the left of the Christmas tree?”
“Mom, it’s just you and me.”
Your arms hovered in a circle for half an hour.
How did they not ache, give in to gravity?
Were you making a wreath of infinity?
Your visions were road signs
on the way to dying.
I lie on the floor,
spotting not a crack in the ceiling,
as my eyes follow the mahogany molding —
grief neither clean nor organized.
I recall our last talk
when you could still speak
(I told you not to worry despite good reason),
and try to feel in vain,
what in the end,
you must have been feeling.
Floor is a poem in the series Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Other Tales of Love and Loss by Sally O’Dowd. Catherine Blyth is an artist living in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Her work was recently shown at Crestwoods Art Gallery in neighboring Roanoke. Thank you, Crestwoods, for supporting creative expression in the Midwest and beyond.