I saw mother take on death,
sink from cancer to emptiness
the way a balloon, tired

of tugging and squeaking,
breathes long sigh out, turns flat
then hollow, gray, concave --

wrinkled rainbow deflated
at end of day. You vanished too,
exhaled from my life

loveless on your way out.
Deep breath over, my heart
sagged under the shriveled sky.

Timothy Pilgrim