Give us this day
for Margaret Willems
Minutes before the cantor
slipped into place on the altar,
I watched Margaret make her way
up the center aisle of Holy Name.
With nine decades to lean on,
she lifted her bobbing head
and smiled as if to taunt Death,
who had missed his mark yet again.
After Mass, amid tubes and walker,
this mother of a long-ago friend
clutched at my arm as I neared.
Her glasses magnifying milky eyes.
Do you remember me, Margaret?
I asked, sifting through scenes
of a farmhouse, corncob stove,
strong coffee and sleepovers.
She touched my hand, fingers
trembling like bird wings in my palm.
Of course, you are a special person
from a wonderful time in my life.
In months to come, she will be gone.
But I hold her words like a blessing,
recall this luminescent Sunday
and how Margaret delivered me.
I wrote this poem several years ago, and event though it’s already appeared in a journal, I wanted to cut it down and revise it.