today liz called mom to tell her that bob died this morning;

mom leaned against the hutch and tried not to cry—

(i guess) though she teared up. she asked liz if there was anything

we could do. i listened, because if the person on the other end

said yes, i was the one to start making arrangements.

she had just reiterated to me that bob was in hospice care

because of parkinson’s and dementia and had stopped speaking.

mary couldn’t care for him alone (she had weekly kidney dialysis).

mom’s youngest brother jim is home from the hospital

and someone comes to the house to care for him.

last november when i told mom that you had died, it was like

someone had hit her hard with a fist that was six feet tall

that fell on her from above (that same fist)

or went through her chest like a steel pole.

she leaned back in her chair as if pushed, but she didn’t cry.

she asked, “what are we going do? when are you going up there?”

she asked, “what i can do?”

i said, “mom, there’s nothing to be done. it’s over.”

yesterday i went into the backyard to look at the garden

all the trees have leafed out, the chard and kale and tomatoes

are green and full and there are plums and lemons—

the water troughs she put in have lilies and goldfish—

elizabeth called over the fence, “sesshu! sesshu!

sheldon is in the hospital. they are testing for blood in his urine.

he’s not coming home. sheldon’s not coming back home,

sesshu—i can’t care for him here.”

Elizabeth put the back of her hand to her face, weeping,

“He doesn’t understand. he wants to come home.

they have a dementia ward at the VA. i’m trying to get him in there.

he doesn’t understand. sesshu, it’s so hard.” she was weeping.

“does he recognize you, elizabeth?

the last time i talked to sheldon, he didn’t know who you were.”

“sometimes he knows. sometimes he comes back to himself.

sometimes he knows.” i didn’t know what else to do;

i took elizabeth five lemons from mom’s tree.