When I told my mother she was going to die,
she did not weep.
The virus quietly did its work
but did not weep.
The nurses had seen too much death
to weep, and the doctor said he was sorry
but did not weep
because my mother was not his mother.
My sister and I stayed awake,
our mother falling into a deep
and ever-deeper sleep,
but we did not weep
until she was gone.
Our father wept when we told him,
and we held him, but did not weep.
Though it felt wrong to sleep, I slept,
and when I woke and remembered, I wept.
Whoever called time of death did not weep
nor did the priest who gave Last Rites
nor did the man who sold us a coffin
nor did the man who sold us a plot
nor did the hands that carved the stone
nor did the sun nor the moon weep
because my mother was not their mother.
Heather, who did my mother’s hair
when my mother was alive
and one last time when she was gone—
even though my mother was not her mother,
The day my mother was buried, the wind swept
our eyes into weeping,
and the earth wept upon receiving her.
Her body wept too upon her passing,
as bodies do when left behind.