Published on September 8th, 2021 | by Katie Hoogendam1
My mother died of a lung disease,
one that stalked her
all my life.
In kindergarten, I was pulled from class, taken
to the hospital, where my mother’s lung
It was too noisy. There were people everywhere.
A man in a coat with a stethoscope said,
“You may lose her.”
And we did, nearly forty years later,
her lungs like well-worn love boats
finally filling with water.
For the most part, she swam.
For the most part, I became a submarine
while my mother moored familiar
to the horizon inside of her.
That was her love gift to me.
Now, lungs the world over are filling
and even Earth, her breath is failing.
We’re all flailing, waving, drowning.
In seas like this, one would be forgiven
for dreams of sinking, drifting
But I have two children.
One would be in kindergarten,
if such things were open.
Times like these demand transfiguration.
So we mothers become wild mermaids, abandon
remember what water is for.
We heed our own sirens/our own vast horizons
when we hit
the sea floor.