The Love Passed Down
They stand together at the kitchen counter,
the morning meds spread on a paper towel,
the three white tabs, the red and yellow capsules,
the mother taking each with fresh poured water.
Moving slow, her face is lined and grimaced,
then turns to stubborn, punctuated firmly
by her exasperated breath. Each morning
exactly this, the daughter reaching deeply
into her gut, to find a well of patience.
Today she finds the well is desert arid.
She slaps the counter, winces, droops her shoulders.
The mother’s eyes grow wider. In an instant
some sixty years ago come into focus.
For just a moment memory is crystal.
The care and love she taught her daughter echoes—
make sure the obligation’s met. Her mother
taught her how, amidst her childhood longing.
She sips her water, takes her medication,
like it or not. Her daughter hangs her head.
Familiar silence wraps around the two.
A tear drops on the empty paper towel.