Yonat Hafftka - After My Mother Died

It took a month and a half and
Only at the end did I know it was over.
She fooled me. Despite the smell of death
At her door that first night.
As my friend said, who also lost her mother a week later,
It’s the finality that is so disturbing.
I would like to think I myself experimented in dying
When I watched her, but I learned nothing
Save how final it was.
I have witnessed yet another unique death
That prepared me for what?
This time I was older.
I knew my own death would be a variation on the same.
But this was just a minor concern
Next to the grand desire to help.
Help her,
Help each other. We helped her move on,
We carried the weights and gave her the drugs
That would let her think as she wished.

Now we are the living
And the legacy
And we carry on.
Her dust is fresh and is still in the air.
Her wishes are null but remembered.
She didn’t want to tell with words,
She didn’t want to tell at all,
But she recorded.
She recorded with both hands in the clay
And she fired, one-by-one
Until she was ready.

Ima,
Let your body rest,
Exit and observe —
The body is at peace.
You are free from the constraints of nature.
You make a promise to return
But it is understood at the door that
Goings and comings are unpredictable.
(Your tribe doesn’t take for granted
The return of the soul with the morning.)
Let’s go meet the other departed,
The one you loved as your own child
Before you knew what one’s own child meant,
Before you grasped the dependency implied,
The destruction
Loosed by the breaking of the bonds of safety.
He almost made it.
Together you can look back and laugh and
Resume the love.


from Sum: Poems by Yonat Hafftka