my mother told me on her last birthday
that she would be fine leaving this world
at her current age of 55.
In fact, it’s always been a dream of hears
to depart on this midlife anniversary.
my heart turned to look at her
and was shocked
by her furrowed brow
and dulled blue eyes,
no longer wild and stormy like the ocean
but smooth and pale like weathered stones,
a question in them where there used to be
my eyes are listening to a foreign language
looking at my mother like this
trying to understand:
where did that all that vigor go?
When you’re parent surrenders,
does that mean you give up fighting, too?
Or maybe, now it’s my your
to take up the torch —
the one she carried for 26 years —
and fuel that fire again.