In Memoriam (for K. M.) by Yvette J. Green

(They said antioxidants were weapons.
Prayer, positive thinking,
community and antioxidants.)

She showed me her battle scars:
how they cut off her left breast,
described where the port was positioned,
how she fit the prosthesis into her bra,
her belief in the prophet,
when he said she would be healed.

She was majestic,
a warrior
with knotted roots:
her husband left
but still expected her to show up at their church as his wife,
and she did.

A solid trunk:
she stood beside me
when my husband left,
shouldering some of my burden
as her own bones began to deteriorate.

With branches
that reached to the heavens:
Before I went to the courthouse
for the divorce proceedings,
She had me praise God for his favor.

Her crown began to slip:
When I had bronchitis,
the cells had multiplied,
invaded her lungs.
Between sips of green tea and a return to the earth,
She prepared me for war.


Read this while listening to ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’, performed by BeBe and CeCe Winans.

AUTHOR BIO

A native of Nashville, TN, Yvette J. Green has lived in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C. for the last 20 years. Two sons, 11 and 16, make her a proud mother. She completed her MA in English at the University of Maryland, College Park. She has had a short memoir published in the Seasons of Our Lives-Winter: Stories from WomensMemoirs.com. Her first poems have been published in Indolent Books: What Rough Beast, 45th Parallel Magazine, and one is forthcoming in The Mark Literary Review.

WORDS FROM THE AUTHOR

She wore a wig because chemotherapy took her hair. I sought an image that could represent her strength, from her rootedness to this metaphorical stand-in crown that marked who she was in the present and her fading. She was majesty. She shared with me very personal stories and held onto mine, while lifting me up during the pain and trials of my separation and divorce. I never fully honored her for that. I hope that holding her confidence, bearing witness and being present were enough for her to know how I felt while she was alive. In retrospect, I could fully see how she helped me grow stronger by being rooted in her faith, her sense of self and by standing with me. This poem was that way to honor who she was to me.