Song For My Mother

K.M.A. Sullivan


I will play for you

until we walk out of the woods

and forgiveness arrives

and Mandelbrotís edges seep into day.


I will play for you

until the surgeon offers hope

and tomorrow is diminished

and piano keys are stripped to the glue.

I will play for you

until fingernails are clean

and visiting hours are over
and our clothes are all that hold us together.


I will play for you

until words are gone

and your tongue searches for bread

and oxygen tubes tangle ragged on the sheet.


And I will keep playing

when yellow fills your eye

and nightgowns must be slit

and Chaos softshoes across the living room floor.


I will play for you

until the pastor comes

and cherry blossoms burst

and Chopin is no longer about the rain.


And I wonít stop playing

when bruised skin is washed

and the healer sings farewell

and even the mail is more that I can carry.


I will play for you

until the wooden box is ash

and the photos are the story

and your love lies over the hole he has dug for you both.


I will play for you

until salt breezes stir

and aspen leaves tremble

and my heart considers the buoyant fractal of starlings.



K.M.A. Sullivan is an MFA student at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia where she lives with her husband and four of their five children. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in Byline Magazine, PANK, Controlled Burn, Gertrude, and elsewhere.