Rose

by Karen Luke Jackson

At the close of prayers for my mother,
her caregiver Rose did not say Amen
or Shalom or So Be It. Instead

she spoke healing into being:
God has done it, God is
doing it, and God will do it

uttering those words with a faithful joy
like Noah hungry for land
and witnessing his first rainbow.

Her alto lilt invoked an ancient spell
over whatever lamentation
or burden was at hand, spiraled

time like a water sprinkler soaking
the ground. Whenever I heard
Rose’s petition and watched

her lay hands on my mother,
their warmth easing back pain,
restoring sight, I lost track

of whether God was working
in the future, present or past.
I can’t explain how, but when

Rose spoke, I lifted through space
to visit ancestors who sang
cradlesongs, on my way home

peering into the lives of those I love.
My daughter, three years old, combing
a doll’s wiry hair. Janet grieving

her stillborn twins. A priest palming
his rosary beads. On one of those trips
I even saw my mother, entombed

in her bed, release her soul as Rose
intoned those ageless words that spun
the world and keep it spinning.

Karen Luke Jackson’s poems have appeared in Atlanta Review, EcoTheo Review, Susurrus, Redheaded Stepchild, and Salvation South, among others. Winner of the Rash Poetry Award and a Pushcart Prize nominee, she has also authored three poetry collections: If You Choose To Come (2023), The View Ever Changing (2021), and GRIT (2020). Karen resides in a cottage on a goat pasture in the Blue Ridge Mountains where she writes and companions people on their spiritual journeys.