Your daughter is dying. You don’t understand
why she doesn’t want you at her bedside,
and write to her friend Kate, I fear
I’ll always regret obeying her wish not to come.
Mahalia sees your photos
every time she opens her eyes.
Does she think that comforts you?
I’ve spoken with her once.
Can I speak to her again?
You’re the only person she’s called.
Take that gift.
That five-minute conversation, a gift?
Obeying the instructions, you didn’t mention
cancer, or her imminent death,
before fluid filled her lungs,
and the nurse ended the call.
When updates come via texts from Kate,
(She stood briefly today.
Still refuses visitors.)
or your daughter’s Facebook page,
(Tumors visibly growing.
Many scans. Many meds. So much pain.)
or when Kate writes,
(Her time is close. She sleeps most of the time.)
you ache knowing you should be there.
When you text:
I don’t understand her wish to exclude me.
Kate, mother of two, says,
This isn’t about you.
You don’t bother to reply.
was born in South Africa and now lives in Los Angeles. She loves hiking and shares her fascination for the natural world by leading school children on hikes in the Santa Monica Mountains. Her poetry has been published in Blue Heron Review, Contrary Magazine, MacQueen’s Quinterly, ONE ART, Verse-Virtual, and Writing in a Woman’s Voice.
⚡ The tree which moves some to tears of joy,
is in the eyes of others only a green thing by Roseanne Freed in Issue 14 of MacQ (August 2022).