Above your hospital bed a sign:
An Irish chaplain visits us,
reads the other sign: Céad míle fáilte.
A hundred thousand welcomes, she says,
then tells us she learned Gaelic
as a child. tawâw says the sign
in the language you learned as a child,
nêhiyawêwin, beside the Gaelic welcome.
She sings a song in Gaelic,
about a little boat
looking for a safe harbour,
a haven with an opening.
tawâw, just like the word says,
there is room, always room for one more.
We float on this metaphor
knowing that the Creator
makes room for you.
You walk through the opening,
having not walked for nearly a year.
Relief comes slowly, gently,
as an ending opens the beginning,
as we know you surpassed your suffering.
We hear this gracious
tawâw ôta. maht êsa pîhtokwê. ôta ka-kî-aywêpin.
“There is room here. Please come in. You can rest here.”
The passage is open, safe.