She imitated a tree one day
That had fallen overnight, betrayed by weak roots.
Her skin was a brittle silk sheet of a ridged old oak
But her face held memories of a beautiful youth
And large hollows hung from her ears
Where young golden owls once dwelt.
We placed her on a white bed
By a window overlooking the mountains.
That night doves build nests in her unruly silver hair.
Autumn had taken the last leaves
And she had no memory of spring…
Just a few snatches of her childhood remained;
Swinging like a perpetual pendulum –
Like a gust of a distant summer escaping from some hidden recess
And echoing from her quivering lips in un-harmonized melodies.
As days melted into nights her chants grew louder –
The Our Father’s had all but disappeared
And she was left with abbreviated Hail Mary’s.
Yet even as these were to pass
All that remained till the very end
Were the unblinking milky-brown eyes,
The creamy clarinet of her voice,
And faint cathedral resonances echoing from her lips –
Something like Kyrie Eleison.