Tag Archives: Mother

THE ALBUMS

THE ALBUMS

Mother’s shrinkage was marked by domicile

House, apartment, retirement and nursing home
shedding at each move, furniture, china, and art
except for, and never, the old photo albums
heavy in padded leather brown and green

Each visit when conversation stuttered to a stall
(Religion all but Baptist drowned
and what use is weather without crops)
out would come the albums
and in we all would dive
for pennies
bright and shiny at the bottom of the pool

Here’s one from 1958
how young the queen looked then

I WAS AFRAID OF THAT

I WAS AFRAID OF THAT

My mother was afraid of everything

She may have been afraid of me
even before I was born

I can almost remember
pulling knees and elbows in
so as not to cause her pain

Afraid even in the womb to whisper
anything she didn’t want to hear

That sort of thing stays with you

Perhaps I should be thankful
for the cliffs I didn’t step off of
too brave and blindly in the night

buy what about the doors
the doors I didn’t open
into rooms filled with light

QUESTIONS FOR THE NEXT SÉANCE

QUESTIONS FOR THE NEXT SÉANCE

Dearest Mother;

Sorry to disturb you
in your well deserved bliss,
but here’s a short list
of things that I forgot to ask

And if it isn’t too much trouble
I’d like the answers as detailed as possible

It will be understandable
if you can’t conjure up a voice,
but one rap for yes, and two for no,
on a floating table won’t quite do

However, if you can look up Samuel Morse,
(who may well be bored and available),
he can give you a quick-study course
and I will dust off my old Boy Scout manual

I believe “talk to me” In Morse still becomes:

-/•-/•-•/-•- -/— –/•

So, now that we’ve got the hang of it;

– What was the best day of your life
– What was your worst

– Your greatest triumph
– Your greatest disappointment

– What you are happiest that you did
– Saddest that you didn’t

Why exactly did my uncle shoot my dog

Whatever happened to my baseball
card collection, with the rookie
Mickey Mantle

and what heaven is like

GRAVEL LANE

GRAVEL LANE

You turn off the main road
head east over the little rise
and down the long slope
to the buildings

Crushed rock, crushed again
talking back to your tires

as eloquent as Demosthenes
spitting pebbles at the sea

On ranch-house porch
half a mile away
sight blocked by
trees and hedge

she knows which truck
who’s driving and
what kind of day
you’re having

THE UNVEILING

THE UNVEILING

On the first anniversary of my mother’s death
I find myself in the middle of New Mexico
the day late, and a prayer short

I stop my Catholic friend nun friend, now
married and converted Jewish
and tell her of my plight

Also the hope that she
or her husband might have
some words to fit the occasion

The answer is yes, the word is Kaddish
and they are meeting with the Rabbi
to arrange the Friday Shabat supper

Myself, Dorsey, Paul, Maryrita and Dan
now five, the number of her children
sit in circle in the hotel lobby

Paul is a new Rabbi and a very sweet man
he forgets some of the words, Dan helps
I say “her Hebrew isn’t that good,
I don’t think she’ll mind”

I am touched that the prayer is of praise
and not of mourning, and the idea
that whatever good I might do,
my brothers and sisters too,
are her gifts to the world

This may be a poem about salt
there is something about salt
and her gift from our eyes
as we share

THE FIRST MOTHERS DAY AFTER THE LAST MOTHERS DAY

THE FIRST MOTHERS DAY AFTER THE LAST MOTHERS DAY

Slowly it dawns on Sunday morning
that you didn’t call nearly often enough
and didn’t send nearly enough cards
or thank her nearly enough

And even if
you put the cattle racks
on the big grain truck
and filled it with flowers
till it ran over all four sides

Even if you drove it to the cemetery
and dumped the whole damn load
on her single rose grave
it wouldn’t be anywhere near enough

BURYING MOTHER

BURYING MOTHER

All that time in the womb
mother and baby exchanging cells
mother to baby and baby to mother
from one to the other and back again

One becoming two becoming one
becoming two and the two always one

It is not the same with the father
invited pleasure or invading pain
there for a moment and gone again

When you bury your mother
the worms eat you too