Seeing Aunt Sister

Seeing Aunt Sister

How long had it been? No one could remember.
She missed Christmas, but with some good excuse,
and the big October birthday celebration. She’d been scarce
in September, August, May. How long? One of Sarah’s boys
said he’d run into her last spring up at Gethsemane.
They sat, and talked about Merton, the weather, and crows
until Vesper bells called the monks to prayer.
The last thing he remembered her saying was odd,
but like her. A quote that jumbled locks
and keys with hawks and cell biology. He guessed
she might have looked a little tired.

The hospice nurse spoke for her eroded body:
ventriloquist and doll. He rounded out
the language of her plucks and sighs,
and talked until her strength waned. She dozed.
The family stayed. Caught up on children,
cars, dogs, meetings, separations. Together,
they watched gray distant clouds draw rain shades
across the farthest hills and the near ones.
And watched the vegetation by the window
quiver with some scattered drops and darken.