P.C. Scheponik: “On Being Done”

On Being Done

Last night my mother told me she missed me.
Something in her voice reached into my heart
and woke the young boy in me, the one sleeping
for sixty some years--
the one she had labored out of her body, held him
in her arms, fed him warm milk, bathed and changed
him, taught him to walk and talk, watered the garden
of his growth with her tears--that one,
that one heard her say, “I miss you.”
And it became clear to the man in me how impossible
it is to be done.
At ninety, my mother, her life behind her, all but the last
thin chapter read, now only echoes down the long
hall of time in her head, cannot let go of who she was.
How could who she is ever fill the empty rooms of her
present heart, longing for all the memories, all the love
all the purpose of the past?
Dances with ghosts, no matter how beautiful they are,
can never last.
Memories, no matter how hard we cling to them can never
hug back.
All our lives are stories we want to be never-ending.
But every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end.
And the denouement will never let us pretend ours is different
as we lie alone in our aged beds, waiting for the kiss goodnight,
waiting for the one who will turn off the light, then take us by
the hand and aching heart and lead us into our dreams.


P.C. Scheponik is a lifelong poet who lives by the sea with his wife, Shirley, and their shizon, Bella. His writing celebrates nature, the human condition, and the metaphysical mysteries of life. He has published four collections of poems: Psalms to Padre Pio (National Centre for Padre Pio, INC), A Storm by Any Other Name and Songs the Sea has Sung in Me (PS Books, a division of Philadelphia Stories), and And the Sun Still Dared to Shine (Mazo Publishers). His work has also appeared in numerous literary journals, among them, Adelaide, Visitant, Red Eft Review, Boned, Time of Singing, WINK, Poetry Pacific, Streetlight Press, and others. He was a finalist in Adelaide Anthology Contest 2017, 2018, and 2019. He is a 2019 Pushcart Prize nominee.

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