The clock started in August.
Doc said six months.

She was the handler. Sicilian.
Most of her hair still black.

Fifty-nine and on her way
out. Cancer: colon, liver, lung.

Peeled oranges with a paring knife.
Our fingers would pinch a slice

before her tip could bite.
La prossima volta (Next time).

Winter sound is blue and bell
sudden. Shadows are knife blades.

I was her nurse, butt wiper and cook.
Still strong enough to hurl a bowl

of parsnips at me-she disagreed
with the size of my chop. Drowning,

my sisters flew in. After New Year
we wheeled her around the block.

January sun carved her cheeks. Mom
never honed a blade to sheath it.

Photo by Lenstravelier on Unsplash

Chiron Alston

Chiron Alston is a research coordinator at Oregon State University, College of Pharmacy. He has an MFA in writing from OSU-Cascades. His poems have been published in The Oakland Review, Poetry South, TIMBER, Hole In The Head Review, and Ramblr Magazine (sic).