Mary Ellen Talley
My Daughter’s Ghazal
Easy revelation that it comes in dribs and drabs, this growing up time.
Her fingers extended for pen, piano, volleyball, the slipping through of time.
The OB came to me in recovery and recommended no transfusion
due to hints of tainted blood, after I bore my baby Becca and hemorrhaged big time.
One day at 4-years old, Becca told us she couldn’t hug the preschool helper
as Miss Suzy might catch her cold and get sicker since this was worried time.
When Suzy’s living became hospice, we parents outlined each child’s hand
on a white pillow case surrounding message to ease her into sleeping time:
When you go to sleep at night, All our hands will hold you tight—
the same message sad families soon saw when saying goodbye at casket time.
Our Becca grew, danced her Irish jigs and reels with Jim of Baile Glas
who was stuck being HIV-positive from an earlier transfusion time.
It took more years for luck to turn on Jim and finally teachers Maggie
and Ralph said Jim couldn’t come back for St. Paddy’s Parade line-up time.
Sometimes I think about what formed my luck, my daughter’s early years
and Irish dance excursions that gave her some best and a worst time.
She woke her 12th birthday smiling when I announced dance class cancelled,
struck to silence when told the reason—Jim had died at 4:00 that morning time.
Twenty years later, her own children Irish dancers and don’t know AIDS invasion,
silence, sadness, jigs and reels high leaps of faith at funeral altar time.
Once worry merged with danger—now hoped eradication struggles with economy
as Mary Ellen and her OB find some refuge as they head toward retirement time.
Mary Ellen Talley’s poems have been published in Redheaded Stepchild, Main Street Rag, Windfall, Floating Bridge Review, Spillway, Ty(po-e:tic)us, Poems on Buses, Kaleidoscope and Quiddity, among other journals. Mary Ellen has worked with words and children as a speech-language pathologist for almost 40 years and currently works in the Seattle Public Schools.
This poem is not previously published.