Mom at Night

by Deborah Oster Pannell

Mom stayed up all night again

Tending to her papers

Pushing them around

Trying to make order of the debts, the dreams and the obligations

She couldn't get the columns to add up,

So she shuffled them around some more and

Rearranged the piles

She wondered why she had to start over again

Each and every night

One look over her shoulder

One extra breath

And she would have seen, would have known

That she was not to blame

Sister of Sisyphus

She never understood or came to love

The incompleteness of her journey

Sadness permeated the air around her

And she slowly shrank

Wounded bird, cradling her broken wing

She smiled into the darkness

And welcomed the strong arm of death