ON VIEWING THE CORPSE OF MY MOTHER-IN-LAW

By Nolo Segundo

How could this –thing, have been her?
Lying shriveled and small on the bed
As those who loved (and feared) her
Gathered in the bereft hospital room
To let their shock and grief melt and
Mold itself into its own atmosphere.
Her body seemed never to have been
Real, never to have been a woman,
Never to have been young once, and
Surely never to have been a mother….. 

And if it had been a body once, housing
A small dragon who could lash out fire
Solely with her harsh and brutal tongue,
Keeping those who loved her at bay and
The rest of us wary, aware of her power,
Her terrible gift for shrinking one’s soul,
Then where did she go when her mouth
Froze open as the last breath of a long,
Life left quietly, without fuss or rancor?

Still, though imperfect as you or I, she
Was loved, and mourned and honored.
If God only housed saints, think how
Terribly lonely He would be…..

About the Author:

Nolo Segundo

Nolo spent years teaching in the Far East, including as an ESL instructor in Cambodia before the time of the killing fields, and later in Taiwan and Japan. He wrote poetry, 2 children’s stories and an unpublished novel and then stopped writing altogether for some reason; and for an equally obscure reason he began writing poetry and essays again after a 30 year hiatus.

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