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Mother’s Mother

My mother’s mother and I were very close.
We needed each other
in diversely validating ways.

She needed to know
experience
hear and see and feel and touch
a healthier love of mutual regard
than she felt she achieved
with any of her three daughters.

I needed to feel
I was some loved adult’s most significant event,
most vulnerable and transparent grace
for who I felt and knew I was
yet to gay become
without any need to change
what I could not internally rearrange.

When I was a senior in high school
this grandmother became sick with cancer
and depression,
mortal doubts and fear.

I knew this
not because I had visited her
but because my parents
and aunts
whispered their hopelessness
before repeatedly reminding me,
There is nothing I can do
to help her
or prepare myself
for such great loss,
perhaps less great,
more relief,
for them.

But they were wrong.
Wrong about my grandmother.
Wrong about me.
Wrong about us, together.

I knew her favorite hymns.
I was her favorite voice.
We needed no other instruments,
percussive or lyrical.
We had enough time
to revisit our music lessons,
Lyrics are tools for young friendship
Not weapons against old enemies.

Precious Lord
take my hand,
Lead me on
when I can’t stand.
I am tired,
I am weak,
I am worn.
Through these trials,
Through this storm,
Lead me on
Precious Lord.

And so we sang
and so I danced
and told her favorite story
of beds too hard,
of friends too soft,
and a child who sings just might

Of Earth too hot
and river beds too soft
and motherlands too cold
and us, now growing distant,
yet singing this last time
just right.

 

 

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