Natural Poem By Ellen Doré Watson

Natural Poem By Ellen Doré Watson

The leaves are coming down in huge bunches now
(all I can think is hair after chemo), and we’re to believe
the death around the corner of December is natural—
because it happens unstoppably, because it unhappens
when earth tires of being stone, when liquid comes alive
in the heartwood, the topsoil, so we’ve got to swallow
our medicine now, break out the scrapers and mittens
and salute the natural order, which will mean at least
one ice storm per county, racking up 4.5 highway deaths
whether or not highways are natural, or the jaws of life,

for that matter, which is what’s got its teeth around my
mother’s wrist, holding on, her soul meanwhile
stalled out on the dark road right there in her living room
where her feet dig in, her knees unlock, she must be
dragged to her chair, she must be as tired of this
as her dragger, who is informed at monthly appointments
that this is a natural progression, even the newest
wrinkle: his sweetheart’s wordless refusal
of the muffin he offers up to her clenched mouth,

just as for years he offered his parishioners grape juice,
little squares of white bread, the promise of eternal life.

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