How often you’ve reminded me

that you used to change my diapers.

Sometimes I remind you

that now I change yours.

When I’m weary or upset

at barking commands

you cannot help but make,

I take deep breaths and hum,

counting on your bum ear

not to hear. But it does.

Stop that humming! you snap,

half-joking. I have watched

your world shrink to the width

of your body between rails

of a hospital bed. I have been

sad and frightened for you,

for me. Sister, time steals our strength,

but still we go on, one day bleeding

into the next. I never meant

to feel broken. I hope you never

meant to break. It is an hour

before midnight. You call my phone.

I don’t answer. Outside I hear

the mad rhythms of the rain.

The earth is tired of all of us.

No wonder rain pounds. No

wonder the air we breathe and never

think of whistles and hums.

Jo Angela Edwins has published poems in over 100 journals and anthologies, including recently or forthcoming in The Hollins Critic, Pirene's Fountain, ONE ART, and Hamilton Stone Review. Her chapbook Play was published in 2016 by Finishing Line Press, and her collection A Dangerous Heaven is now out from Gnashing Teeth Publishing. She has received awards from Winning Writers, Poetry Super Highway, and the SC Academy of Authors and is a Pushcart Prize, Forward Prize, and Bettering American Poetry nominee. She lives in Florence, SC, where she serves as the first poet laureate of the Pee Dee region of South Carolina