Anne-Marie Cadwallader

In Issue 6 on April 1, 2011 at 11:03 am


I did not say goodbye.

I always meant
To be the one
Who saved your grace
And held you
To the sun,
And gave you back your dreams
So brilliant in your eyes.

In the end,
I could not break your fall
I could not feed your body
I could not clear your veins
I could not give you breath
And I could not give you sight
And so let you see
That I could not say goodbye.

My father
He was kind;
He was gentle with his hands;
His fingers skilled to find
The gold veined in the rock,
The passion driving mine.
Long bones and wide of palm,
I have my father’s hands.

He was a miner
And a painter
Who bought the scrabble of a living
With the rubies of his dreams.
His work consumed his body,
But the dreams grew in his eyes.

But then it was over.

We waited at the railing;
A bed of metal caging,
A web of pulsing tubing,
His body crushed to nothing
Beneath the stretched white sheets.


We waited there for something-
A flicker of a finger
Once more
To feel the hearth light
From eyes that cherished hope;
It was too late for that.

Before the lines were straightened,
And the room
Absorbed the sound
Of life relinquished, given,
The whine of shutting down,
Before this shrill surrender,
I left to find
The living.
To start the act of filling
The holes that opened now.

To find a way of being
Without the arms that held me
Harbored on his lap, and
Looking through the window,
Both painting out the picture,
The same one in our minds.

Without the voice that finds me
Where I have gone to hide,
And pulls me to the surface
And helps me ride the currents
Of tempests and of fear…

Too soon.
It was too late.

I have not said goodbye.


Anne-Marie Cadwallader has lived in the North Texas area for over 30 years (Frisco is about ninety miles north of Dallas), but she was born in the Philippines, coming to the States to attend college. Her two children are grown, and now she has time and quiet, somewhat, to write! She shares a small home with her sweet and forbearing husband, five cats and three dogs.


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