My mother’s birthday.

I year ago today my brother and I took our father into the psychiatric ward of Sacred Heart Medical center, the three of our lives unraveling in the horror of the following weeks. It seemed the first day of darkness, nurses dressed in costumes walking through the hospital. Faces that have always been there and always will be there, moved from floor to floor. Everyone I’ve ever known passing through, moved from floor to floor. Everyone I’ve ever met making a visit there, committed there.

A vase of dead lilies in my mother’s house. Their fallen orange petals weeping, cracked—ashamed.

~

I awoke running today, into pale sky with strokes of pink and yellow cloud that knew an unspeakable kind of happiness. No one on the trail. Deer in fields eating the frosted grasses, patches of white snow in their coats. The morning breathing slow and heavy with me: I am in Maine. My mother’s birthday.