Green Hills Literary Lantern

Elderly Children




Through my hazy vision,

I tried to reconcile the man you’ve become

With the one who once carried me atop his shoulders.

You whispered the story once again

Of when I was five and angry at my brother and sister.

I came to you, demanding you take my side

Against those "elderly children"

And then you said, "I guess we all get to be elderly children."

A last smile flickered on your face

As the past and present blurred.

Your skin seemed so pale in the harsh lights,

Paper thin as Mother and I bathed you.

You were too weak to manage a shower

Like you'd always been adamant about taking.

You called me to your bedside to talk about finances

And what to do "When this was all over."

I hope you were with that memory of us

When your heart grew tired, stuttered, and stopped

Two hours before dawn.

In your passing, did you kiss my sister

As you looked down upon her sleeping form,

Stopping her clock upon the nightstand as you left?

Did you hover over my brother to bid him farewell

Since no one could lure him to your bedside

While there was time?


And what did my dreaming eyes miss?

When your spirit departed this world,

What was your goodbye to me?

Did you tell me that you loved me,

Your youngest daughter

Who thought you’d never die,

Leaving only a pain like razors

Sliding down my raw throat.



Maria Rachel Hooley spends her days teaching high school English and writes in her spare time.  Her work has appeared in Kimera, Westview and Blood Feathers among other journals.