Making Thirst

after "Making a Fist" by Naomi Shihab Nye

A headache on some empty road bumping
north through Michigan. My first migraine.
My mother complained about my complaining
until the car stopped running all together.
My brothers took off down the vast expanse
for help from the firs and beech trees.

"How do you know I won't die?"
I hammered at my mother for an answer.
The sky was shocked white, all light,
no room for my dark pain to sneak out.
"You are still thirsty. That is why I know."

Years later she is dead, the only thirst
she can feel is from the dirt that steals
the last of her tears through the coffin seal.
Here I am, gardening, living, sucking
the last of the rain from the ground,
from tomatoes, still thirsty.

—Miriam Hall, Madison, WI