October (with some clarification of events in the first comment)

September, we sat in the nook on the top floor.
Looked down the beach and muddled colors on a plate.
A brush in the yellow, the red, the grey of the houses up the shore.
See how they get smaller, the farther away you look.
See how the ocean is blue or is it green?
What lies beneath where it is black?
How to remember the splash of a moment ago that will never be again?
How to remember this September in a life that will never be again?

October, we lie looking out a window.
Counting leaves that fall from the Oak.
Remembering the time the tree began.
Remembering the reason the tree began.
Listening to the kids raking and jumping.
The laughing, the coolness of the air.
Surprise from a yellow butterfly in October!
Dancing on the sill.
How did he come to be so lost?
Lost in a place with people who will never be these people again?

November, in the still of the night.
Her last breath, her surrender.
A breath that will never be again.
A stillness that stops the every stare.
A disbelief in the want of a mortal.
No music, no smiles.
No more to remember, no longing for less.

The body to be cared for,
In rest, without life.
What cloth to let it go with?
Who will say it was as a blue as the sky?
As soft as the mist in the air?
Pardoned with skill, her tortured bones now soft.
Layers of guilt, shame, remorse, pain.
Each peeled away with each layer applied.
To the end, to the very deep end.
The kimono hand made,
The kimono worn before.
Dark, muted.
It, too, laid in wait for the October leaves to fall.


About kat9090

Hafu (Half Japanese), Late Discovery Adoptee, Sister, Mom, Daughter, Wife, I cook, look back, look forward, lean left, drive a lot, write a lot, wish a lot, I will be square with you if you are square with me. Find me on Instagram @shojikat and Twitter @biteme9090
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2 Responses to October (with some clarification of events in the first comment)

  1. kat9090 says:

    Maybe it’s Mercury in retrograde, or maybe it’s just the annual anniversary of my mom’s passing, but here I am again. I helped my daughter move from one apartment to another this past weekend and as I was helping her gather a corner of things, I was stopped in my tracks by the palette I gave her when she took to painting on cardboard. I recognized the colors there, undisturbed. They were the colors of the houses next door at the beach in Corolla, NC, 2004. My mom was ravaged by steroids and radiation, growing sicker by the day. We retreated to a 3 story house, one of the few times we would gather in a large group. Mom was sick. Tensions were high. I sat next to her and we talked about the architecture up the shore (not normal conversation for she and I) and how the perspective changes when you look closely at those houses and the line of the shore. My cousin, her niece took that watercolor to Japan. That day, they taught me how to write my name in Kanji. When we returned home from the beach, mom slipped further and the weather became cold and damp. A yellow butterfly somehow found it’s way into the house and fluttered around the room. It was the last smile I would see from her. She left in the night, the littlest ones were asleep. I laid my face on her chest listening for the struggle to cease. The hospice nurse gave me instructions and I removed the medical items, we disposed of leftover medicines and I bathed her one last time. Mom had a very Japanese need for bathing. It was a sad time to stop doing what seemed like duty that brought life. Like eating, like dressing. With my sister and a dear family friend , I went to the funeral home and asked them if we could dress her in anticipation of a wake. They were so kind……and so gracious to help. One doesn’t know what to expect from a lifeless body. It was mom, but it wasn’t. We struggled to dress her…where her hands were stiff in life, they were now soft and giving. With no direction, I looked in a trunk (the only item in the spare room’s closet) and found an old kimono. It was dark, the slightest embellishment on it with an embroidered obi (the heavy sash that circles the ribcage). There was a pair of tabi (the socks with a pleat between the first and second toe, to accommodate a shoe) and nothing else. I have nothing to validate it, but I think it was old, the stitching done by hand and the fabric seemed aged. I will guess it was her mother’s maybe. I had never seen it before, and I was always a snoopy kid, if it was there….I would have seen it. I just assumed she put it there for me to find. I wonder how she knew I would look. Surely, she didn’t think we would dress her in that awful polyester suit from Kohls, did she? Mom is buried in Arlington Cemetery, on L’enfant Drive, sec 38, nearest the curb. It’s been 10 years and I can still smell the interior of the trunk. It smells like wet fallen leaves.

  2. bethkoz says:

    Your prose is as lovely as your poetry.

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