All I Have Left: A Poem for Peggy

Today marks eight years since the day my sister Peggy died of breast cancer. Not a day goes by that I don’t miss her in some small way, sometimes in a big way. Last year I wrote this poem to submit to a publication that ended up deciding not to publish it. Yesterday, as I was pondering what poem I might submit to a different publication, I came across it in my Miscellaneous Submissions folder. Then I realized what day it was and decided it had lingered unpublished long enough.

All I Have Left

A smoke-stained antique China hutch with beveled mirrors.

A dainty teacup and saucer decorated with yellow Narcissus and a gold rim.

A greenish-white ceramic figurine of Joseph, Mary, and the baby Jesus,
with her name etched on the bottom.

A garnet ring, fashioned like a flower with round petals,
that said Made in Germany inside the band 
until I had it resized from a 10 1/4 so it wouldn't fall off my finger 
     into the bathroom garbage again.

I guess there are some photos too, in the albums our Dad gave me 
     before he died.

And the echo of her lovely voice reassuring me, "It's okay Sweetie,"
          when I cried from the pain of getting my ears pierced,
          when I faced the trauma of rape and a teen-age pregnancy,
          when I spit Scope mouthwash down the front of my wedding dress,
          whenever I needed reassuring.

That's all I have left.

Except regrets of the time I let pass without calling or visiting 
or even writing a letter,
thinking we had all the time in the world.

Not realizing all the time in the world is not enough.

And that when she breathed her last in a quiet, sterile hospital room,
I’d never hear her call me Sweetie again.

I am a Jesus Freak, and I don't care who knows it. I am a wife, mother, sister, aunt, daughter, and friend. My blood family is only part of the larger family of Christ that I belong to. I love to write, especially about my dear Savior.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: