Tuesday, February 1, 2011

2/2/82 - poem, for my mother (d.2/4/83)

Mother: the blue has gone from your eyes
like early morning in this seaside town
when the air is white with dew.
This is our home; that, my bed.
This, they say, is you.

You scream in the night:
I rush to your side
as you came to mine a million cries ago,
to rescue the child from the image of you
I'd see upon the wall
(bigger than life, and hey-diddle-diddle, and the egg about to fall.)
The next day you were always your size.
Now I wait for morning. You are still very small.
(I will not come to your funeral;
I am at your funeral now.
I will sing you praises, some of them real.)

Oh, my witch-and-fairy godmother, all wrapped-up as one:
the pain you dealt with spoons
you could take away with a smile.

Once, as I take the pan from the bed,
you forget to cover yourself, knees bent.
I turn away too late.
You are bald and young and still as a girl,
untouched by birth or passion or blood.
I wonder if I am real....

When I am still, we hear the sounds of the sea.
And once, before I go, I walk naked
along the shore. My breasts are full,
they move as I do,
I gather them to my lips....
I feel your call: I dress and go.
The sun
inside your thumb is gone.
You are as cold as I was
the day the first drops of blood
began to fall. I called, "Ma,"
you looked at the stain between my legs
and slapped my face - old ritual -
good luck; a woman now. You made me
chow mein and noodles from a box
and slept with me inside this bed. That night,
I wept. Now, I do not.
(I will not come to your funeral;
I am at your funeral now.)

I dress to go. It is night, and the full moon is up.
You are at the edge of sleep and do not say good-bye.
White light fills the room.
You shade your eyes and moan.
I take my final look, then turn,
and wait for you to die.


No comments: