the grandmother stone, a poem

at the medical center you put your ear
to the trunk of a birch and listened to my heart
while i roasted potatoes in a snowed-under parking lot
and managed the effects of a shrinking brain

when i heard the door to the crematorium slam shut,
i found myself floating on waves of heat that flayed my skin,
mom held me in mourning and sang Salve Regina
(she was slightly off-key)
but i found the grandmother stone you left in my hand
it pulled me back to the earth and the snow

i heard you say you savored the taste of my blood
in the kalamata olives you ate the day i died
i listened to doves cooing and watched the wind
wrap silver filigree around tree branches

the morning was crisp and fresh
the others came with arms full of flowers to say goodbye
but your arms were empty and heavy with love
i decided to live

© 2017, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved