Bealtaine (May)

By Alyssa Shanderson


In the winter, her eyes turn from green to gray like a field of shamrocks decaying from Donegal’s frigid coastline in late November.
I do not want to forget that transition in the kindest eyes that these eyes have seen. I close my own and cling to that image for dear life and try to remember. I smell cigarette floral patterned couch cushions and hear
the heat from the halogen bulbs in flamingo pink lamps on the side-tables and presently I long for her to yell at me for leaving a dish in the sink or for not making my bed promptly in the morning before class. 

Calloused, wrinkly hands with thick veins, I will never know that kind of exhaustion. I am ashamed because I often let it happen, distracted by my own useless bullshit. I wish I had appreciated her efforts. When the day comes, I will miss the stories about school in Dublin about the nuns who beat her. She never did like school. 

A physical human embodiment of the Energizer bunny, at 81 I want to be just like her. Kind and powerful, and brave. I fear that now in her stagnancy, the wind will stop turning and I will be unable to march to the beat of her drum. The resonance echoes in my stomach and the thought of a world without that tempo is a deafening one. Oh, the way that time is unfair to us. I pray to deities of religions that are not mine or hers because I do not think one God is enough to plead to. I am willing to play my cards for a chance at damnation if one of them will help me have her forever. 

Sometimes I wish I had known at the age of six that giants too, could fall. It would have saved a lot of anxiety for my nineteen year old self when the phone rang and the beanstalk came tumbling down
with everything I knew to be true at the top. Like Bowie and Prince, the ethereal nature of her actions and words seemed out of this universe and mortality was not a precursor that we considered until she lay in a bed at NYU looking so very small.