Alvina Mathilda (Klein) Miller

The Scarecrow

I was the scarecrow in the garden of my mother’s death,
standing a long week of bed-side vigil
in that tangled patch of wires and tubes
with vain hope of keeping the death bird away.
Looking long at the soil where my seed had nine months lain,
I wondered what part of me would die with the womb
where I first so securely experienced life.

In death’s garden, there’s little a scarecrow can do,
helpless straw and limp limbs facing the strong winds of fate.
Feeling my breath pace her struggling gasps,
I whispered hopeful words of prayer and promise.
“I have always loved you” she gently murmured in response,
slowly turning her pain-filled mother’s eyes to mine.
No more need be nor ever could be said.

The day the death bird finally settled on that soil,
the scarecrow came some precious moments late.
Not that it really mattered, for we both were ready then
and the sky shining through my tears
was somehow brighter, larger, light-suffused.
“Vita mutatur non tollitur” the old Latin chant had said.
This life indeed was changed more than ever it was taken away.

Ron Miller

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