my mother uses a cane now

my mother uses a cane
now since so much pain makes
walking hurt usually
in the afternoon
and evening unless
she lies down

my mother doesn’t use a cane
when
mornings are better
which is usually unless
she turns just so then
it’s like someone’s stabbed her with
a knife right in the right sciatic
nerve and the volt
of a lightning bolt
radiates down her leg
bringing her to her knees
where all she can do is pray

my mother uses a cane now
if the pain in her hips and legs radiates
if the pain in her hips and legs radiates
then the cane is essential unless
her husband’s nearby and
he can steady her
like he always does
and hold her arm to hold her up too
they look more in love now
that he holds her up
like he always has

unless my mother used a cane
you wouldn’t know of her searing pain
never wanting to be a burden
she doesn’t complain
she’ll suffer her suffering in silence
in Martyrdom, that unknown lonely ghostly town

the pain has taken something from her
a corner of her hope, a muscle of her fight
she’s thinner than the thin she’s always been
she’s weaker in a way not of muscles

it’s hard to see my mother use a cane now
she’s tough
someone you want on your team
a bring-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps type
full of grit, resource, resilience
a daughter of necessity
a mother of making a way out of no way
a woman who makes making such a way look easy
pretty even

my mother using a cane
now does not become her
must not become her
must merely be a momentary lapse in the bootstrap pulling she’s always done
is not the mother i know

my mother using a cane
is resignation, is admission
is gaining by attrition
is loss by addition
where three legs
are less than two

my mother using a cane is an admission
requiring mine
revealing her pain
and mine too

cane 1

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