My mother’s crying laid her on a gurney,
bags of saline to replenish tears.
She woke up to her re-occurring grief,
insisting that she didn’t care
(her caring decomposing her alive).
She dried like Ponderosa pines,
bark-beetle wounds preparing her
to burn in devil winds,
tall grasses overgrown in wet December
crisped to a summer pyre.
She cried until her tears were gone again,
no surgery, no blindfold, primed
for drowning in her own heart’s blood
(no sandbag for the heart),
her thirst not slaked by water
come too much, too late.
Joyce Schmid is a grandmother and psychotherapist living in Palo Alto, California. Her recent work has appeared in Literary Imagination, New Ohio Review, Antioch Review, Missouri Review, Poetry Daily, and other journals and anthologies.