A Mother’s Last Poem
According to her parents the first word she ever uttered was ‘book.’
Kelli always wanted to learn to write like her mother did. She had many journals piled up in corners and stuffed in drawers. Some journals contained written love stories, some held memories, others held stories of monsters and heroes, and many were stained with coffee and tea. Thousands of pages of paper cluttered her bedroom. She had poems tacked to walls, her favorite quotes were written on sticky notes that now framed the room, a few romantically erotic shorts were hidden in a shoe box under her bed, and her favorite diary entries dangled from her slow revolving ceiling fan. A flash fiction story of two hundred words was framed next to a picture of her and her mother during a camping trip nearly thirteen years ago; Kelli was sixteen.
The picture was taken a week before the car crash. The crash killed her mother nearly instantly, it left her father in a wheel chair before he died of complications four short months later, and Kelli walked away from it without so much as a broken nail and so did the drunk driver that hit them. Her mother was writing poem at the time of the crash. Every Saturday her mother would write a poem. Some were simple. Some were complex. All were beautiful.
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Her mother often wrote of flowers in spring and weathered light houses outlasting a storm. Sometimes she’d write a poem about their golden retriever named Charlie and their horse named Buck Roger. Though, mostly she wrote about her husband and her daughter.
Behind that framed picture of the last camping trip Kelli had taken were the beginning stanzas of her mother’s final poem. She’d always wanted to finish it; her father had asked her to. She had written millions of words, but none, in her eyes, seemed fitting to be her mother’s last words. Tonight, she said would be the night.
It was the thirteenth anniversary of the fatal crash and Kelli knew she needed to write something or it would haunt her forever. She sat at the desk and unframed the poem from behind the picture. She read it. It told of whispering winds, of the calm found at the creek’s edge, it testified to the kiss of the forest’s mornings, and the embrace of the night’s campfires. She began to cry; a tear fell onto the poem, it wasn’t the first.
Kelli put the pen to the paper. She wiped tears from her eyes. She wrote. She told of drowning in the tears of the night’s stars, of the morning’s mourning dew, she testified to the comfort from her mother’s kiss, and to the warmth of the embrace of her father’s arms. And it was beautiful.