First and Last
Before I was born, letters
between Mom and Dad
showed that Blackie was a sickly pup,
maybe worms. She always came home
from the vet. Until that day. I knew
she wasn’t coming back.
Behind the house, Dad dug her grave.
I have memories of Mom:
hitting the softball
over everyone’s head,
helping me with the Gobi Desert
presentation for school,
later, at the rehab center, her withered body
dressed in her favorite maroon sweatshirt,
feeding-tube hanging out from under
the hem. We celebrated Christmas:
her children, grandchildren,
husband of 60 years
at her bedside.
I knew it would be the last.
At Weatherford’s, I received
her mahogany box of ashes.
Barbara is a retired physical therapist living in North Carolina and a member of the poetry group Poet Fools. She is an avid birder and has traveled extensively throughout the world viewing wild birds in their natural habitat. She frequently incorporates nature in her poetry as an extension of her love of the outdoors. She has two chapbooks: The Catbird Sang and A Shell to Return to the Sea. She has had published poems in a number of eclectic journals such as Jellyfish Whispers, Tar River Poetry, Peregrine, and Third Wednesday.