VIEWING MOTHER'S BODY
One eye open, vigilant even in death. Will your body never.
Neck clenched. Mouth, rigid as tarp.
The everywhere grin, gone.
Hair, a white peony. Too bad I didn't inherit that from you.
I reach out, hesitate, your fingers, swollen from the fall.
Your shoulders, massive as ox-yoke. Below, a cavern starved into submission.
Suddenly, I need to know, to finally know you. Pull gown flaps apart.
Face on your breast, a child, falling into grass.
Now, papery winter leaves. Nipples scrape the ground.
My staring like this, you would have hated. The not being able to stop it.
Pull up the sheet, kiss you. Even in death, your cheek holds its secrets to itself.
You're with Father, if the gods so choose. Or you're nothing.
Can we never.
Margaret Walther is a retired librarian from the Denver metro area and a past president of Columbine Poets, an organization to promote poetry in Colorado. She has been a guest editor for Buffalo Bones, and has poems published or forthcoming in many journals, including anderbo.com, Quarterly West, Naugatuck River Review, Fugue, The Anemone Sidecar, Little Red Leaves, Phoebe and Nimrod. She won the Many Mountains Moving 2009 Poetry Contest. She has received two Pushcart Award nominations and poems published by In Posse Review in 2010 were selected by Web del Sol for its e-SCENE best of the Literary Journals.