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  Aug 2017 SG Holter
Noddy Ueland
"I'm afraid that we will become history as soon as the puzzle is finished."
Looking down at my jigsaw I
understand that the picture below is now made of

South African wine, bouldering summer storms, and pieces of garlic in the hands of a dancer who does not

Dance. Only in your arms, I could breathe the best way an asthmatic could. But as a misunderstood

Puzzle Girl, I would always give you the last piece of my jigsaw - knowing that you'd keep the finishing piece in your box of

treasures. Kept a secret. Like the fact that we both *hate to love
but keep believing that this too shall pass
as the cancer is eating out our bodies and we fight our separate wars.
You are making history

And I look down at my unfinished jigsaw
knowing that without you
my picture will never be
*Complete.
SG Holter Aug 2017
I've always loved to make her laugh.
She deserves as much,
My mother, the hero.

First call from the hospital;
The worst one I've ever made.
"I'm sorry. Yes, it's cancer."

Hearing a mother's worst
Fear grip her throat with the
Force of a crocodile's jaws around

The neck of something
Unsuspecting.
She does what mothers do: Finds

Strength within the heart of
Complete devastation.
Clears her throat and tries to

Speak,
But the sounds she makes are
Fingernails on

A blackboard to a sympathetic son.
I am not the victim here.
I am merely a messenger

Whose life is on the line, bringing
Bad news to the
Undeserving.

"Didn't you put us through
Enough with your nearly failed
Heart surgery a

Decade ago?"

She manages a stab at
Sarcasm, and I

Smile in comfort
At her
Courage.

I smile into my phone.
I smile at the emerald
Lawn around the

Hospital. At the sky, where low,
Dark clouds speed above me
Like angry, little spaceships. I

Smile at the horizon, where
The sun sets behind an
Almost pitch black

Promise of evening rain.
And my mother doesn't shed a
Thousand

Tears. She sheds one.
One single tear, the size of a
Womb around

Herself, like hers once
Held me.
A shield of salt water,

Transparent kevlar of
Maternal self-defence.
Flashbacks from little legs kicking,

A sore back and things swollen,
The battle of her first birth.
"Life's not supposed to

Be boring,"
I try, and she grasps at
Anything light-
Hearted in desperation,

Letting out a little laugh; not
Forced, but faint.
A slight relief from the

Nightmare.
I've always loved
To make her laugh.

She deserves as much,
My mother, the hero.
There are parents who

Take their childrens' good
Health for granted.
I know two that

Never will.
"Have you spoken to your father?"
"I'm going to," and we

Hang up
With our usual I-love-yous.
The wind picks up the fallen

Features of August, whirling
Them against
Bricks and across parking

Lots, and I pause
Before I
Dial.

Swig of cold coffee, button up the
Ridiculous patient-
Shirt they gave me, and

I can't take my eyes
Off of that
Horizon.

That dark, wet deluge approaching,
And it's dad's turn now.
I love to make him laugh.

This time I won't try.  
I crush a handful of dead leaves that I  
Surrender to the wind

As he picks up and answers with
An unsteady, nervous eagerness.
"Yes, hello?"

"Hi, dad. It's me."
I brush my hand clean on
My pant's leg

And begin with the loving
Determination of
A parent about to rip a

Disney-band aid from the
Bruised knee of an anxious
Toddler.
SG Holter Aug 2017
Cancer, old devil.
I've shaken my fists at your
Ugly back as

You've laid your
Hands on my loved
Ones.

Cursed your name;
Kicked at your
Shadow. At last you've

Gathered the
Courage to
Face me. I

Suppose you could only
Ignore me for so   
Long.

Come at me with scythe
Raised, I'll stand,  
Broadsword

Drawn.
No shield; double-
Grip-swinging.

I'm ready.
No nurse ever saw
You greeted

With
A smile like
This.
SG Holter Aug 2017
Words barely audible;
Choked and phone line
Distorted.

[Words muttered between
Sweat-wet moans and
The grasp

Of a lover
Whispering
Back.

Fingers finding fingers;
Knots of nails and tendons
Tying, untying, re-tying.

Legs, arms, ribs, knees -ropes
And hull of something fleetingly
Unsinkable.]


Words barely audible.
Hoarse with worry.
"Will you be ok?"

IV-bag drip-dripping iron
Supplement into my arm
That itself remembers her

Sleeping head still warm
With contentment's embers.  
"I'll live if you'll live."

A pact between our broken
Hearts; that everything else
Stays unbroken.
SG Holter Aug 2017
No river bed rock ever
Kisses the same water
Twice.

Autumn opens her arms
To September, and I close
My window for the first

Time since May.
I have had better
Summers. Love left behind

In a deluge of tears and regret.
Doctors sharing bad news
With honest concern;

Waves upon sand castles,
Moments; memories, then
Nothing.

I rest beneath the
Cold stream, perhaps
Allowing new waters

To feel my face in time.
For now, the rain strokes
Nothing but the glass

Of a window shut
To the chill of a dying
Summer.
SG Holter Aug 2017
I don't mind death, as long it
Comes under an open sky.

Crows and magpies go for the
Eyes first.

The dead need them the
Least.

Lack of life renders once living
Things more alien within

Walls. So
I don't mind death as long as it

Comes under an open sky.
Among trees, mountains,

Soil, and stones,
I'll surrender my

Eyes gladly to the
Birds.
SG Holter Aug 2017
You checked my pulse
If I slept too
Silently.
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