by Anne-Marie Cadwallader Anne-Marie Cadwallader

Born in the Philippines to a Spanish mother and a Texan father, Anne-Marie Cadwallader attended the University of Oregon and the University of Southern California. Eventually she settled in North Texas, where she lives her husband, five cats, and three dogs. After living in and traveling through multiple countries, she became an interior designer, realtor, and home stager; at the young age of sixty-one, she retired and devoted her time to writing, dancing, touring, and adventuring in the countryside.

Her work has appeared in Numinous: Spiritual Poetry.

The wave spread out crept up
Slid back
Came back and licked my toes;
Ran out regrouped—
All silently except for sighing
On crusted sediments of shells.
Finding my feet the water laps,
Beneath my soles the shell-sand moves,
Pulled out scooped out and running with
The tide.
Warm the water, smell of gulf sea grass and fish—
A hint of salt and warm—
Wash me, wash me now.

I stepped into the tub
Sank into the water
Let the faucet pour until
The warmth was liquid in my soul
The day my mother died
The hour she was dying.
Sorrow brought me there
To find cover from the time
I will be called
When she has gone
To let her go.
Wash the openings of grief
Clean out splinters of the smells
And sights of
The onslaughts on her body
As instruments, machines
Tear through her mouth her throat her veins
To save her
When she was already gone.
She was my mother, like a child
These years.
A broken bird, they laid her down

And swaddled her.
The strokes had made her brittle
And stole her peaceful sun
And hurried her away,
Now passing on,
To me—the stage,
I stand alone as Mother.

Now on this gentle shore
I sit, and wait,
Caressed and lapped by tides,
Letting go and letting be,
Washing me, the blessing sea,
And adding to the touch of salt,
The tears that come at last.

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