The "Our Father"

By Marilyn MacArthur – Concord, New Hampshire, USA - 19 August 2012


I hushed the soft classical music
as I crossed into my mother's hospice room,
wordless, lilting TV voices far away.


At the bedside, my fingers stroking her hair,
then gently cradling her shrunken hands;
I did not breathe for fear of the noise.


I willed my rolling memories to make no sound.
Time passed tranquilly. A priest entered the room,
saying a soft word, joining the stillness.


Leaning into the quiet, I muttered,
"Would you like me to leave, so you can pray?"
"No, we are going to say the Our Father."


His voice was tender, but clear and firm.
I listened for the sound of the clock but couldn't catch it.
Silence slipped away; I heard only my heart beat.


Falling into the familiar cadence of long ago,
facing words never truly forgotten, only waiting,
I drew a deep breath and whispered the words of longing to my soul.