Joy Gaines-Friedler



Black capped terns track ahead of me. Morning.
Beach. Deserted. I walk where waves break
then spill their energy.

Sand solid like skin. I sink slightly, still held safe.

Hospice nurses from Miami start Critical Care.
Later, I hear it called Comfort Care. They can

read the phases of her breathing, the pallor of skin.
Still in her wheelchair a shot of morphine
helps her breathe. They take her to her room.

I follow like a noun: Daughter.
Seven states away my mother’s life mooned into loss:

First keys, then walking, then, as though the new moon
hidden in the shadow of the sun, speech.

All my life she perched on a broken branch.

Settled in her dream state,
I take my rented car, bring back tacos
for the nurses who talk about lunch.