Peter C. Venable
For decades he’s attended to mom, now ninety-four
With legs thin as her walker and veins
thick as her wrists, glacial blue rivulets trickling
toward her heart. She maneuvers between chairs
to the table. Cream of Wheat, finger tested,
waits as she gropes for a spoon. He butters toast.
Her vision only works askew.
He rests, smoking on the porch. The orange tree
is barren at the crown. Two lime lizards glare
and swell red throats on a branch, heads bobbing.
The other tree, a sawn stump, still fills its space.
She navigates to the couch and reclines.
Crushing a butt, he washes her bowl and cup,
Then drapes her feet with a sweater.
Eyelids flutter, seal. She winces.
Pain pierces her cracked rib but is healing.
In Madonna’s embrace she rests.
He signs, watches her fragile chest barely lift
her lace smock. He covers her with a cotton quilt.
Days erode like columns in Greek ruins.
Her last breath expires.
The Comforter has always watched his station
from room to room, unseen
offering redemptive whisperings barely audible:
“Make me feel as Thou has felt;
make my soul to grow and melt;
make your Spirit be indwelt.”
Besides college publications, Peter C. Venable has been published in Chrysalis, Crucible, Sparrowgrass Poetry Forum, The Roll-Schola Contemplationis, American Vedantist, The Penwood Review, Word Riot, Ancient Paths, e-zine, Vineyards, Time of Singing, The Christian Communicator (3 issues), Journal of Formal Poetry, Third Wednesday and The Merton Seasonal. In 2013, he placed second in the Winston-Salem Writers contest and was published in their anthology First Flight.
"I work as an almost-retired addiction and mental health counselor, and I facilitate a bereavement group at work and at my church. I am graced with a happy marriage, daughter and son-in-law, and Yeshua."