I ricked my back and hip from slouching in my chair;
pain radiates down my thigh, across my lower back.
Didn't mother always tell me to sit up straight?
Now her 89-year-old kidneys have packed up.
She's got a month more left, in hospice care.
To correct my posture, I will carry a Bible on my head,
the Unabridged Oxford Dictionary, Gibbons' Decline and Fall,
the Ark and the Dove, the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria.
On my next visit to mother, I carry a peach to share with her.
But she spits out the applesauce the nurse tries to feed her,
and when given milk blows into a straw instead of sucking.
I'll eat the peach later -- how succulent! Mother once so enjoyed
them. Now, white-knuckled, she grips a green-wool prayer shawl,
screams when an aide adjusts her foot. I stroke her veined hand.