I’m sitting here wondering if
I’ll have to go through all
the shit my mother went through
before dying.  I say
“shit” quite intentionally...
My mother spent so
much time on the can
it wasn’t even funny.
And the money we spent
on undergarments could
have gone a long way toward
settling the national

The indignity of old
age: Ma struggling
to rise from her
wheelchair, washing
her hands at the sink,
removing her false teeth
and putting them in
a cup.  Exhausted by the daily
tasks of living.

What joy was there in
Mudville at the tender age of

It might be better to
crap  out in one fell
swoop. Just keel
over from a heart
attack—no lingering

The last time my mother
was in the hospital,
her major
accomplishment was
to kiss me before
I left for the evening.
She had to muster all
her strength to do that
one simple thing.

But I could see she
was pleased that
she did it.

That kiss was her last
will and testament.
After so much effort,

that gave her


"Benediction" was published in Philadelphia Poets 2013