BREAD BAKING TIME
Monday, 12:32 a.m., so that’s Tuesday really.
Was at Gaye’s house when I got a call that Mike was on his way and minutes later he screeched around the corner in the truck and we’re here in less than an hour driving 85 or 90 all the way. Mom’s heart stopped around 8, and they did CPR. She is responding to kisses and words with hand squeezes.
She’s on 100% oxygen. Her pH level will kill her if her heart or lungs don’t stop first. Her heart is beating at 142 beats a minute.
I hugged her and when I looked up there was blood in her mouth.
Last night I washed dishes, exactly how she told me, with her voice in the background. “This is my house and you’ll do it how I want it done.” I also started picking up all her medicine and putting it away. I looked through the old photo albums and then I looked at her closet and couldn’t think of what to do with her clothes. Then I put lots of dishes away, and I could barely walk I cried so hard. I think about how I will feel five years from now and if I will still cry this much.
My mother used to stand in the kitchen
on early winter mornings and bake bread.
He brow knit hard in concentration,
she’d light the gas pilot.
On the coldest days, she’d throw open
the door and lean in: waiting.
I though perhaps she’d stay forever,
but she’d always pull out just in time.
With a smile. Like death visited and revisited. I will always remember the smell of rising yeast
and warm buttered bread
that roused me out from wool blankets,
feet to cold wooden floor, mouth watering
stomach always yearning
There is an odor to mom, a smell I’ve never smelt before and it makes me sick.
I can smell it in the air now,
fragrance as sweet as mourning rain
On days when you can see your breath
in vapors that fog the windows
I press my face against it, looking at the distorted picture.
Always seeing you.
Its 5:45 a.m. I have been in the ICU room since 4. A while ago I looked down and mom had this thick blood running out of her mouth. That’s twice. Her G tube (stomach) is full of bloody coffee ground shit. her kidneys have stopped so she’s swelling because of the water backup and this one lady nurse couldn’t draw any blood, only fluid.
It won’t be long now.
It is bread baking time
reaching for your recipe
I have always done it your way,
becoming more like you
with each cup of flour
with the kneading of the bread
11:35. Asked mom if she hurt and she nodded yes. So got her a shot. Dad came in. “The three smartest things I ever did in my life were you her and you and Mike. I always said I didn’t want kids, but secretly I did. Then you came along and you had two arms and two legs to you, and you were healthy and normal. And I was happy. I always wanted a boy though. I was glad to have you, but I wanted a boy. That was Mike.”
“I’m going to the lounge,” my father said. “I have a headache.”
2:16 Her lips are blue-ish and so is her skin tone. If I touch her with my nail, the imprint stays. her kidneys stopped so it’s fluid build-up. The cancer is throughout her body. The whites of her eyes are greenish yellow and her tongue is swollen. Mike and Dad are sleeping.
Yesterday or night before I could have sworn I heard mom whistle for me. It was louder than she could talk after she lost her voice. When I slept in her hospital bed out in the living room, a million times I thought I heard her call me. or I saw her standing there watching me. Her face gets bluer. I wanna go hold her hand. She will never see my kids.
I kneel beside the oven
Lay my head inside,
wait for the warmth of sleep. Wait.
Pull out just in time.
Like death visited and revisited.
Its 7 and my mother is dead and I have never felt like this before. I was at the room sleeping and Mike came and we came here and she was almost gone and cold and unconscious and blowing air bubbles like kids do to be annoying. And we watched the numbers on the machine click to zero. And I cried in the bathroom in the floor with all the lights out and then I threw up and now they are taking all the tubes out so we can go in and visit with her and something smells really bad and my father is praying and he’s never prayed before like that and they’re calling people and I’m in the lounge staring at things
This is how it is done.
Generation to generation.
Mother to daughter.
And on the bitterest mornings, I rise just before sunrise,
ready to fill this empty belly
Always yearning for more.