Anatomy of Family

When I was little, I didn't understand
how part of something could die        
  while the rest flourished: a tree limb  
  tiger lily, blackberry bush—and so            
Growing up a gardner, I grew acutely aware
of pruning as a necessity for dying parts
  to give the remainder of plantlife
  the greatest chance to survive—  
At 13, I learned this about humans:  
my mother became terminally ill;  
   they severed nerves to give her body  
   fighting hope to exist without pain  
because in '74, shoulders couldn't be removed.            
For five years I witnessed the extent
of what not extracting something diseased
  could do to the human physique by
 watching it curl into a corpse-like being.                     
Along years, my father taught me    
that you cannot always extricate            
  a malignant immigrant from your lung  
before it infects your kidney or heart.  
This was the greatest lesson  
death taught me in life: become  
  shears and prune yourself from toxins:
friends, relationships, and jobs.

Sometimes the cost to survive  
  is a high price to pay—my ancestors  
remitted their lives over trails of tears  
  and cruel concentration camps.  
There are times you cannot prevent  
   a death sentence no matter how hard  
   you attempt to preserve a future;  
this was the second most important  
lesson I learned from both parents            
  and a long line of ancestral suffering:  
know when you can prune—            
accept when you cannot;            
trust in the seeds you've sown            
to flourish as you once did—            
  as a tree limb, tiger lily            
  blackberry bush—human    
and so forth. . .                           
Written by Ahavati
Published | Edited 3rd Feb 2019
Author's Note
All writing remains the property of the author. Don't use it for any purpose without their permission.
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