Maxine

as a child I couldn't breathe
growing up I was torn in two
I spent split Saturdays silent & shy,
or silly and spastic. She was there

She had a wall full of faces which
I loved being a part of—
finally fitting in. restless nights
I spent with Her by my side.
I knew She loved me.

eventually She left Her dirt covered
home for emerald pastures, but
time got the best of us both
She was a tree and I was a boy
coming to Her when I needed
the warmth of Her branches
or the comfort of Her shade

She was forever giving and
I knew I was selfish
She longed for visits— 
now I wish I had obliged

as I grew She watched me
turn from fragile to strong.
as years passed I reciprocated,
but in esrever

they say it was sickness,
but I'm not certain.
I think She gave all the love She had
between the children
and theirs and theirs
She gave away all the pieces of Herself

every cough like nails on a chalkboard
leaving Her to tell me for years
She was ready to go,
"what a life," I hope that's true

death is keeping us alive
yet I fear it more each  
time we face. I thought I
could welcome it after everything
but that’s out of reach.  

She’s there, stitched and  
unmoving. a shell of who
She used to be. We held hands—
Her eyes closed.
will my message get through? 

lost souls and lost causes
together surrounding our
monarch but She was no butterfly
She was bird. a hummingbird—
tiny and fragile, colorful and full of life

we talked and joked
as She was leaving
but I didn't want to talk
about new beginnings
all I wanted was to lay
next to Her like I had years ago

I kissed Her lifeless body,
canary and an unrecognizable shell,
until nobody could any more.
I cried myself to sleep

we poured Her into porcelain
and pretended everything was fine
even though none of us felt
more than empty
now I'm not sure I'll
feel again. I haven't since.

I miss you more than I
knew I could miss.
a hummingbird emblazoned
next to my heart