Was that a wink I saw as I bid my sister Beverley goodbye to catch
a plane home? Did she choose to die while I was on the plane,
knowing my last image of her was a wink and a wave from that once
beautiful hand -- a hand with nails painted a
wonderful tropic orange? Did I wave back?
Beverley died of
ovarian cancer in August 1998. Every female member of my family
(maternal side) for three generations has had cancer except for one,
my sister Carolyn. Of the cancer victims, all have died of the
disease except for one, me.
An Exquisite Balance
She is shrinking
as she shrinks from the world
outside her wall of books,
books read and reread,
stacked in piles, then read again.
World news not needed here,
the old wars will do,
stories not needed here,
she'll retell her own,
mail unopened now.
She does not move the car
from the curb, the dog
from the yard, the food
from the cupboard ... does nothing
to disturb her exquisite balance.
And on the day we sang
to her -- her sharp hands
lifting from beneath the covers
to conduct - a smile arose
on that shrinking face
filling the room,
filling the dome of sky.