The Last Memory Our Daughter Had of Me

Our daughter in her death bed awoke
for half a day and recalled how I

arrived, a fury of reproach
and industry, my wings pinned back,

my arms all hiss, how I chastised her
a week before, how I rousted her

from her bed and made her sit
upright at kitchen table to eat

a steaming bowl of golden guilt
and skinny pale snakes that flopped

while I changed her sheets and cleared
the nibbled food from the floor

beside the bed before her death bed,
so many crumbled Oreos

and greasy Taco Bell wrappers,
the food of gods she used to say.

And that, that hectoring mother voice,
the swoop and pound and push of that voice,

that’s what she carried with her
across the murky Acheron

to eternity.