Margaret Chula


                                                    Wisps of Fog
                                                                         A Tanka Series

on her birthday
                                                    she asks me to help her
                                                    write her obituary
                                                       wisps of fog
                                                       shroud the maple leaves

                                                    winter afternoon
                                                    Mother and I sort through
                                                    her jewelry box–
                                                       accepting baubles
                                                       just for their stories

                                                    April Fool's Day
                                                    we move our mother
                                                    into assisted living
                                                       saying good-bye to
                                                       her battered golf clubs

                                                    the hollow stems
                                                    of summer daylilies
                                                    pull out with ease
                                                       Mother has fallen again
                                                       and broken her femur

                                                    final move
                                                    into a nursing home
                                                    I take home the dregs
                                                    of her perfumes–none
                                                    of them smell like her

                                                    cleaning out
                                                    Mother's lingerie drawer
                                                    the tears in her stockings
                                                    sewn up so tightly–
                                                    all my unanswered questions



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