I once had a mother who loved me before
she fell into the ocean of lost words
and speech. We journey to play on the beach
where I lose sight of her on the horizon.

Grey clouds march across the sky. We are not
certain of the monsters they push in. Finding
ourselves unprepared, we run for shelter, seems
the smart thing to do before being plummeted
by memories. We leave a drowning blue bird

on a blue wave. It is hard to look into “old”
eyes, painful to see their disturbing questions
staring back. Best to pretend we don’t know
the answers. Instead we keep busy counting
our blessings, and our lists of accomplishments.

We travel alongside the Tin Man collect our heart
medal from the Wizard so we can get out
of this place. There is one, though, who stays
behind, who does the heavy lifting, who brings
mother’s hand to her lips, understanding

the value of touch. When it rains it pours
heartbreaks and the caregiver is there to mend them
in ways our loving “too much” causes us “too much”
pain. So she goes back, back to find what she
sees as life but we see as dying.

I thank God for the angels among us
who understand the “long good-bye”,
who see sandcastles in the sky
where others see storms.

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About the Author

When Annie Newcomer lost her brother, John Klier, Jewish Scholar and Russian Historian who lived and taught in London to misdiagnosed cancer in 2007, she was bereft. Writing saved her. Now she teaches Poetry and Play Writing at Turning Point, a center for the chronically ill associated with the University of Kansas. She endeavors to share this joy of the written word with others.

Annie Klier Newcomer
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