My parents anchored
our childhood,
forming crosspiece and hook

Dad died when I was 16
and the anchor wobbled,
(mom always was the hook)

Slowly, my four siblings
and I clasped hands,
a replacement crosspiece

When mom’s mind began to fray
we criss-crossed our arms,
to form a steady X

Mom died
and our sibling anchor
held us, steadied us

Four months later,
that  flash flood
carried Helen away

For a year I
adrift and disinterested

I returned to
my spouse, daughters, siblings, nieces, nephews, friends.

And the slow realization
that I was anchored anew.