By Fran Martens Friesen
We saw her yesterday, ages ago.
She, drifting to the final free-fall.
White hair on the pillow
like the stretch of evening clouds
across the sky.
Pain through closed eyelids.
Parched, blistered lips struggling
Her words to me, caring and soft,
reflect the graciousness of her life.
"Take good care of your sons--
your beautiful family."
My newborn she holds
awkwardly across her knees.
She searches his face,
gathering for a cry.
Does she find hope there?
Her words cause me to see
beyond the pinched face and frail fingers,
beyond despair to a strong gentleness,
to warm hands that are held out to family,
even through the blowing of bitter winds--
hands that tenderly create delicate,
hands that clasp needy, special students' hands
in the work of daily life--
hands that reach, always,
Rest, Grace, and know.
There is beauty here
in your faded features.
There is strength in your frailty.
There is breath, warmth, hope,
The touch of life.