“You Accompany Parents Through Winter” by Alice Cone
As you tend to your father this winter,
when the surface is white, the sky smudged glass,
may your breath swell and rest like the river
as it courses through shadow and silver,
trusting forward and chanting the chorus
that will carry your mother through winter.
When the air is so cold it would splinter
and your muscles so taut they would collapse,
may your breath swell and rest like the river,
the susurrus of current a sister
to that pulsing of blood through umbilicus
when Mother conducted you, one winter.
If her heartbeat’s now listing, off-kilter,
the routes of his nerves noncontinuous,
may you rest and crescendo, a river
resolving the chords struck at source, a singer
of canticles honoring the passages.
You accompany parents through winter.
May your hearts swell and rest, trust the river.
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