She Left This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

By , Kankakee, IL
she was the sun- a loving idol in the sky, at times scorching but still always there. the thing around which i orbited, my entire life spent forever running away from with waves and kisses tossed over one shoulder only to be returned when i came back, stories of mystical lands filled with monsters and allies bursting from my lips.
she was the moon- beautiful, immortal and full, plentiful; a pale shadow that cradled my body and hung my tears in the sky as stars, each constellation a different enemy, a different battle, another city conquered. the goddess called mother, she taught me of Him, healed my cuts and kissed my bruises, her moonshine intoxicating.
she is the earth- my mother, a solid ground from which i may launch off, reaching beyond the stars as she tells me to aim higher than the farthest sun. a presence smelling of lemons and cookies, of hairspray and pride, the very foundation from which my life has begun and bloomed, an angel, six-winged with flowers in her hair and three children at her feet, Gabriel at her side.

she left- a long time ago she left.
left, our home no longer ours, a faith renewed under hardship and strain, the lovely fields and creeks and ponds, carriage horses and soccer fields and corn stalks left for a city of grungy gray, the hope blooming so bright under so dense a layer of ashy filth.
left, left her at the new house with one arm less, our shy faces flinching from the shock of overtures we had never yet seen. still one arm less we left, driving her here and there, not seeing her gone, disappeared, faded into the purple background of a new job that took so much and gave nothing more than the title of Lady Reaper.
came back, fearing so much and overflowing with faith and grace, the renounced Magdalena in whom so many learn truth and virtue and honor. she stayed, restless but faithful to the end, taking our punishments with a heated temper and a sleepy demeanor, still our angel on high, still our guardian who came, checking in the night to see if we were all right- still willing to listen to a daughter's problems, still willing to dry a daughter's tears.
leaves- looking anew but still gone, her presence a hello in the afternoon as she walks out the door, a request for the ironing services of the dryer; a goodbye as the sun rises sleepily in the cold, a kiss on the cheek as we walk out the door for school, a soldier on watch for the dying souls of the pain-ridden.
leaves, Sundays no longer an affair of Church in the mornings and lunch at the noon, dashes to the grocery store that "take too long" and Chefs at night, the eternal ER critic with ever the witty comeback to the ever increasing oddities.

it is inevitable that we would leave- the children for houses and homes, husbands and wives and children and grandchildren and that forever closer hoofbeat of the coffin horse with room for two; the parents for life, their duty done but still a call, a letter or e-mail; lazy afternoons spent reminiscing and laughing, their children's antics repeated in their children. cruises and bird-watching, sunny islands or roses in the winter, the cool Seattle the home they knew for so little but loved so much; the beauty of the day appreciated like nothing before, the years blurring as first one, then the other walks into the sky, the chariot calling them home.

left, there but not, a ghost like nothing before, my tears my call to her, the woman for whom make-up is donned and slips learned to love; the woman for whom my memory lives, hot balloon dresses and sisters taken home, for she the woman i will tell my children of, will call at mid noon, fearful of how to convince my daughter to speak, how to act; how to be like she, she who gave me so much, she who never let me settle- who laughed and loved and lived and

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