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For an Elder, Turning, Returning

As she flows in and out, we wait.
Attending. Attentive. A tension.
What is to be paid? What owed?

The river is shallow for
the season but its current
runs deep. Consciousness
flickers, will-o’-the-wisp only
altered by constant choice.

Sharp shards hold us close to
home since she is almost ninety
-five, almost ready to return.

Rain streaks our windowpane.
Valiant snapdragons reach for
the light we all must tend to,
tend toward. Rain condenses
just when thought dissipates.

The flurry of warblers has departed down
river, leaving bare limbs of poplar to winter
birds, bright streaks of blue jay and cardinal.
The osprey, too, have left with their fledglings.

We gather the last bouquet of snapdragons
for an indoor vase, attending the final phase.
For we can take nothing personal as we go.
She leaves with the wind. And we of necessity
let her go.

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