She sits here beside me
in her torn dress, wearing leaves and dirt,
humming an old tune- faintly, under her breath;
she sits here and strokes my hair
in the dead of night,
when my watch tower has fallen to its death,
and I grimace as I unwittingly recollect
the song that she sings without rest.
She skips ahead of me on the path
running to meet a forgotten house in a forgotten place
that knows her better than I, and remembers her name,
and welcomes her with goosebumps tickling my arms;
she laughs at the crayon scribbles on the walls
and that familiar, odd crack on the kitchen windows,
but she quiets down at the stillness of her home
and she asks me, "where have they all gone?"
She sits beside me at my family dinners,
smiling sadly at the flip of our worn picture books,
singing loud, our song,
in her frail, hoarse, old-time cry,
bringing tears to the stubborn edges of my eyes.
She stands, ghostly, beside me when I stare
at reflections of myself, naked and bare,
but she flickers, and she flickers, and she fades
with every trembling step that I dare to take
towards a future built solidly
upon the restful silence of her grave.