Two men dressed in gray
asked us to leave the grieving room.
The son is here, they said.
Reluctantly I left my sister’s resting place
and, in single file, we slowly stepped
while voicing our consternation.
He stood so still at the bottom
of the ramp, all appendages clamped
against a flight for freedom,
although he would never choose
to flee from this dark sight:
his dear mother passed into night.
Like the funeral march to come
we lumbered passed the orange form,
each attempting not to stare, but none
succeeding in averting angry eyes
from shuffling feet and stiffened fingers
bent in supplication. His guards, staring
straight ahead, had eyes of dripping ice.
Charles ducked his head as I approached,
As though he feared a slap of indignation.
But I saw the fleeting years: his youthful
smile, his innocence, the stolen dreams.
Such mixed emotions as he held me
in his muscled arms, this lost child fully grown,
blood of my blood.