She appears in the glass like a watermark      and her image in the window tells the score.
Her eyes, reflected, look blinkered, tired,      sore as she scrapes the dishes clean.
Inside: herself. Outside: the dark,      and this old face between.
It seemed just weeks before      the sun still flickered, fired
in the leaves of neighbor trees–     the window warm with light alive.
And yet, today, it’s not even five      and already a silent moon
has chased away the coward sun      before the chores are fully done
and darkness comes too soon, too soon.

She looks down and dries her hands.
The days grow shorter, colder;     the night and her thoughts expand
into the obvious metaphors. She’s older      now than her mother ever was.
Time keeps a cruel order of disorder;      it will not slow; it never does.
She sits down to rest her feet.       The child she raised,
her mother never lived to meet.       A golden cord braided
with two black strands of loss:       he would not know her
nor would he be known.      Hold, pull, cross. Hold, pull, cross.

How is it now that he is grown       and gone? Her heart sits lower
into the familiar chair       of being alone. But she is not
lonely, not truly, nor is she afraid.       Sorrow need not yield to despair
for there is strength in the braid,      in these tangles, despite the knots,
in these loose threads, and half-frayed      ends. Memories of time measured
not in hours but by rising bread      or by counting the logs fed
into the fire. All is treasured      and all treasure subject to decay.

She lights the fire for herself again      and runs her fingers through the grey
that her own mother never grew.      Tomorrow comes, so will spring. What then?
The deepening flames consume      another hour; the embers fall like dew
and Hope steals, tiptoe, into the room      drawing a thread of joy behind her.
The night will last, but warmth also,      and memories of the past grow kinder
in this waning light where all things glow      and gentle sleep at last will find her.

βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι’ ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι,
τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον·
ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους,
τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην