Poem: Walking with Mother

Day 1New hip, right side, burden and promise. One step, two steps, move the walker. Canes in uncertain hands, she looks back. The walker beckons, an old friend waiting. Breathing in, breathing out. One step, two steps, move the canes. With her I walk mindfully, half indoor pace. Breathing in, breathing out. Like a treed black squirrel she chatters, Unhappy about leaves underfoot, clouds, unwelcome cats. Right foot, breathing in, rhythm irregular as her steps. One, two, three, move the canes.

Day 2 One, two, move the canes. Slower than yesterday. Merging plastic and steel, old joints, stolen time, wandering mind. Breathing in, breathing out. Left, in, right, out. "Then your father says . .. ", Breathing, right inBut it's three steps and move, then four Before sunshine glimpses cats loving the slow walking, Attention given and returned. Breathing in, left foot, five and the canes catch up.

Day 3 "Don't tell me what to do; when I'm ready I'll walk!" Breathing in, breathing out. Seeking right action. Three steps, four, move the canes. Six, seven, eight, her eyes like cat companions in the warm afternoon sun. Breathing in, left foot. Breathing out, right foot. Listening to aging frustrations, to find clear thoughts entering the stream. Five remembrances ripple through my mind. Breathing in the marvels as she sails Twenty feet without pause, Every step earth-caressed.

Day 4 I went walking with my mother.

Bill Woodall Boise, Idaho

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