Midway Through Reading
Brenda Hillman’s Death Tractates
She died before the date
claimed on some certificate,
died when she burned the pots black,
when she fell & hid until the bruises grayed,
died when we moved her
into care at the house where she was born.
The slightest aging
warns us what the worst will bring
yet we go on, hoping for respite —
palatial winter ice, spring mergansers,
summer otter dives —
surely she thought
if only I can carry on regardless
before she couldn’t.