©Shers Gallagher 2015
I set a pink carnation on Mother’s grave,
but only one
which will wither in the dry dust
of California’s unending drought.
Global warming and bad planning
is causing fires in the hinterlands,
in the canyons of dried up lakes and streams.
Carnations were her favourite flower,
her ground now hard and cracked
from lack of rain,
parched and bleached
as I imagine her bones should be,
as her death was 30 years ago
come this December.
A June bride had finished high school
only to straddle two at the ages of 20 and 21,
till the pill caught up
and gave a few years reprieve
before the others came.
I loved her dearly,
our fragile flower
with lion heart and beacon soul,
being more like sister than mother
to her eldest born,
my brother and me.
I live miles and seas away these days
and have not been back till now,
remembering how she whispered once,
her dying breath my parting gift
to abate all the misery.
I will not be there, she murmured.
Don’t worry then, I’m in your heart
and will follow your heart.
And there I’ll be remaining.