She wakes, restless, moans.  I lean in to give
another pain pill–my shift now let me out

of this bed! Your Dad will come get me. He rode
in the ambulance with me, all the way!

I wait, weigh whether to play along
“He passed away, Mom, four years ago.”

I didn’t know that. How? In his sleep?
“Had fluid in his lungs. Don’t think he

wanted to go back home to be an invalid.”
I’m sorry to hear. I loved him you know

This, after years of hearing vitriolic rants
about him, spewed from her pinched lips.

“I know. He loved you so much. Truth is,
he never said a bad word about you to me.”

It looks like all my family is just about gone
“You have twelve grandkids and fifteen great-

grandkids. Draw strength from them.” I show her
the onesie I’d knit for my newest grandchild, June,

 “Thank you for teaching me to knit, sew, crochet.” 
You’re welcome. I like Tom. She always likes my men.

I like big men Her cough pulls phlegm deep from COPD
lungs, spit into tissues. We hand-feed her now

like the new baby girl in our family, sharing her nickname,
June Bug, both spoon fed, decades and miles apart, but

they intersect in cosmic spins, both poised for flight
into vast unknowns–home, a faint memory I don’t know

where I‘ll go after this because I don’t have a home
‘This is your home, Mother, so don’t fret.” Midday

she rests, eats well, says I’m just being a little piggy! Her grin,
a child’s “Eating makes you strong, so you can sit up

in the wheelchair, get out of bed ”But, I’m eating all your food
“We have lots of it, no worries. You can have as much

as you want.” I look closer, see her as the precious girl in the one
studio portrait Grandmother could afford, age five, a black silk

bow hugging her dark, smooth pigtails tight, and her wispy eyelashes,
hand-painted on the sepia photograph in 1938, a smile as full

as a Kentucky moon in August, the month of her birth, the month
her mother died, before the stepmother moved her to the back room

of her father’s house to sleep on a straw tick mattress on the floor,
as frigid, December winds crept through cracks of makeshift walls.