Guest Poet Rodney DeCroo

things to do while your mother is dying

find a lover with long brown hair
and matching colored eyes
for weaving courtly jests
and bodies
in a small room
in a small white bed.

go to the bar and drink sullen
and alone until you puke everything and
or drunk wander the streets
assuming the role of a stranger
with foreign complaints;
a weaving wavering madman making
love to his rags under streetlamps
for the disgust and indifference of cold

hide in the shower three or four times a
day, a break down closet of water steam
and plastic stand naked pink and dripping
covering your face with your hands
weeping at the stubborn icefields
of your heart which even this heat
can not melt

seek out conversation and coffee
with friends, holding on to voices like
umbilical cords as you float above the
words into cold intellectual layers
gasping for breath,
the gulf between heart and head.

wake suddenly on the midnight couch the
lamp burning to chase away shadows and
secrets wishing to press cold hands upon
your chest wake with surprise at real
mourning in a dream and the image of
her in the dark of antiseptic caves and
nurses floating down corridors the
caretakers of so many private deaths in
this dream ward;

wake with fear and anger and
sorrow at the snakes of infection
whipping through her body
consuming her highways of veins
and flesh and all she's ever been;
their cold eyes and unforgiving
logic wrapping finally about her
small clenched fists.

November, 1997

Rodney DeCroo's Questions:

Is the poem too sentimental?

Should there be more about the mother in the poem?

I hope that you will respond to my submission. I must confess I'm a bit at a loss around grammar, I submitted the poem as I had written it. I seldom get an opportunity for feedback on my poems. This is also my first time on the net, so I hope I provided the information you need. If you send a reply please mark attention Rodney, so that the editor will put it in my box.

Thank you,

Correspond with Rodney DeCroo at
with your ideas about this poem.

The Albany Poetry Workshop