When the cancer came back: brain, bone, lung
and liver, she began her work.
Her will was not written. In the last
year of her life, she gave them all the things
she knew they loved, threw away the rest.
Her Yankees cap went to her grandson
who played ball. The four-foot-tall begonia
that almost died with her that rainy summer,
but revived, was given to the daughter
it came from one Mother’s Day long gone.
Another daughter got the smiling
Cool-Aid pitcher bought with green stamps, so long
ago. Four tiny porcelain Christmas cups
that spelled NOEL, which she placed on the window
sill each year above the kitchen sink, fell
to the daughter who rearranged them
every morning to read LEON, LONE
and LENO. Her husband tried to save
the sweatshirt that she wore, which had been his,
a favorite from a festival they went to
every year, but this she discarded
with so many other things she would not
need, saying that it had a tear. He told her
he would mend it. She refused, clearing out
the house. He thought about retrieving it,
then thought again, submitting to her will.
Visual artist/poet Mary Kathryn Jablonski is author of “Sugar Maker Moon,” from Dos Madres Press (2019). Her poems and award-winning collaborative video/poems have appeared in numerous literary journals, exhibitions, screenings, and film festivals, including the Atticus Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Poetry Film Live (UK), Poetry Ireland Review, Quarterly West, and Salmagundi. She has recently been named a Senior Editor in Visual Arts at Tupelo Quarterly literary journal. Visit MKJpoet.com