Unbroken Circles

Naomi was one of eleven
Children, rock farming would
Be what her father did for a
Hired hand’s living while her
Mother, the ever fruitful wife,
Bore a family, tended to the
House as best she could with help
From a weeping willow switch,
Thus my mother-in-law grew
Into the shyest daughter who
Suffered childhood rickets while
Bigger brothers fought became
Drunkards so that then thin
Naomi and her sisters became
Wives of drunkards, suffered
Miscarriages, begged with the
Husbands who meant to hand                                                                                                   On the line as best they could,
Having tended only dirt not
Children in their none-too-distant
Pasts, at any rate, the woman’s
One surviving son and I buried
My mother-in-law in a dress
Purchased from the funeral home,
$$$ on the price tag perhaps a
Robbery but guests remarked on
Naomi’s lake-like face when the
Reverend closed down the Pentecostal
Casket, I was reminded of how this
Fierce, stubborn woman had once
Grasped, engulfed a new wife’s hands,
All bone fingers, stroke victim unable
To speak again in tongues, Naomi
Had once upon a time cried over a                                                                                   Daughter-in-law’s wedding ring,
My antique lace dress, the bent
Woman desired resurrection and
Younger, I learned there is that thing
Called duty, my own to help one more
Mother ascend into some longed-for
Heaven painted the color of a robin’s
Egg. Naomi’s Easter self mirrored a
Feathered sky of rich powder blue.