Thoughts Inspired by a Letter from a Daughter to a Mother

Sometime ago I said I
Loved you sixty ways
And counted them
To you.
But now I know I cannot
Count my love by
Any days.
My very breath is mine
Because you dared
To give your life that I might
Each day you gave to
Me that I might give
To mine
In my appointed time.
I cannot give to you
What you gave me
But to my own I pass
The torch
Then anxious, wait to
If they will pass to theirs
What you gave me.

Family Tree

Sagebrush whispers silence,
wind threshed against the stone,
your name, date of birth and death
once etched, now dwindled
into nothingness.
This, your grave,
this hot, dry spot,
iron fence squaring off
a pocket size of earth?
In this apron of low flung hills, no epitaph?
What of tangled roots, locked in bones,
winds that wear a life away?
I know you lived because your journaled words
tell of truth, of faith, of pioneer years.
I chart a pyramid of pedigree.
You are there, young and strong enough
to stretch hundred-mile strides,
straddling mountains
to take a wife and build a home.
You still move through the spring-plowed hills.
Your prayers sing through the valley.
In this windswept cemetery where you have no name
our spirits touch because you left a part of you
in aged journal pages.
Time will hold the last devotion.
I reach as if no time had passed.

[illustration] Illustrated by Frank McEntire