by Ann Christine Tabaka
The phone call came at 2am. I knew immediately. The day was long, and longer still. Nurses scurrying in and out. Disconnecting tubes / moistening lips. Tangled bedsheets, and sterile furnishing. Friends from church whispering / singing / praying the rosary. “Hail Mary full of grace …” as each bead counted another minute of her life. My mother laid there, motionless / barely breathing. I read her favorite bible passage. Darkness fell. I sat alone by her side. A nurse’s hand upon my shoulder, telling me I should go. How could I leave? How could I retreat? How could I believe what was happening? Envisioning my childhood and all the years until now / I felt so alone. 2am / I picked up the phone. I was told she passed peacefully. Why do they always say “peacefully”? Hanging up, a warm presence filled the room. I smiled, looking up, imagining my mother kneeling / her head on Mary’s lap. She was devoted to the Blessed Mother. “Goodbye Mom, enjoy heaven” was all I could say before the tears flooded / rosary beads spilling to the floor.
Ann Christine Tabaka was nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize in Poetry. She is the winner of Spillwords Press 2020 Publication of the Year, her bio is featured in the “Who’s Who of Emerging Writers 2020 and 2021,” published by Sweetycat Press. She is the author of 14 poetry books, and 1 short story book. She lives in Delaware, USA. She loves gardening and cooking. Chris lives with her husband and four cats. Her most recent credits are: Caroline Muse, Sparks of Calliope; The Closed Eye Open, Poetic Sun, Tangled Locks Journal, Wild Roof Journal, The American Writers Review, The Phoenix, Burningword Literary Journal, Muddy River Poetry Review, The Silver Blade, Pomona Valley Review, West Texas Literary Review, The Hungry Chimera, Sheila-Na-Gig, Fourth & Sycamore.