August 13, 2008
By Yi Ting Tang, Livingston, NJ


The rusty sky smears blood red
Before the sun awakes,
And the sleeping garden beneath
Reveals no sign of spring.
Only the nightingale’s dirge can be heard,
Piercing the still air.
I lie on a toppling hammock above mere threads,
Staring at red trickling from cloud to cloud,
Intoxicated, delirious, but so, so alive.

I can remember now --
Holding her aged hand,
Listening to her hushed breathing
With the constant beeping in my ear;
Consistency was a comfort,
Another reason for living.
And I almost forgot the reasons for crying, almost.

I traced the contours of her face,
Her closed eyelids flowing into deep creases,
Etched wrinkles -- the burden of time,
An ashen grey against white sheets.
I took her palm and lightly drew words,
Words I should have spoken, while praying,
Praying for her warmth, for those fingers to embrace mine,
Praying that somehow she understood.

The author's comments:
A poem inspired by a family member.

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