The Strange Behavior of Grief

The night I finally got my mother
to bed, I remember snuffing out
her cigarette. The smoke signaling the shimmer
of sunrise through the gauzy curtains.
Yet it failed to dazzle.
                                         Hours of shielding
her hard-hitting words. She’s intoxicated,
I said, and who wouldn’t be after
losing a daughter? But where is
the consoling psalm for the one left?
                                         Hours of coaxing
and a huge relief as I turn off
her bedroom light. Sleep
will be good for both of us,
where there is no measure for grief.