Tag Archives: DMS

Song Sung to The Mothers

flowermoon

Song Sung to The Mothers

You are the gate and the path leading away.
Not the nest but the many things

The nest was made from. Built of mud
And moonlight. Without you nothing

Can bond or find its way through darkness.
The mistakes of recognition were all ours:

That you are immortal and unchanging.
The nest by our feet on the path

Is the one we built of such dead twigs.
At night when I sleep it is to the song

My mother sang in the trees before
I was born as the moon pulled

My empty soul across the water

Vanishing Tracks (II)

Vanishing Tracks (II)

What is resilient in us is resistant to memory
When the memory goes she will be some other self
Still resilient to the sailing light and shadow
And hungers and exhaustions of love
Made maybe even more immediate

When the resilience goes what is that then

When the resistance goes what is that

Just outside her heart she hears a sound in the night
I am out there knocking on the dusty porch
I have brought a friend with me
When she opens the door will she see herself
Holding my hand?

Do you remember when the car door opened up
As you drove and I hung out there clinging to it
Legs dangling and hollering your name?

Do you remember hollering my name
In encouragement
As you sat in the bleachers to watch
The smallest second baseman ever?

Do you remember the rides on rainy days to school
In the golden Rambler you called Goldilocks
Your children and their friends sitting forward
And backward like sardines to fit more of us into the back seat?

You spent so much time doing these things you have the right
Not to remember

Nothing can change what you have done
What it has made in me
I will remember these things
For you and when I can no longer remember
Nothing can change what you have done

Everything I can remember makes up only a small part of your life
The rest of it now becomes more you to me I see that now
You become your childhood your mother in that picture
Is you now as you look at it which is not
A bad thing as you tell me laughing
Your nephew becomes your father in that picture
Standing beside you younger than you somehow
It doesn’t matter
He has always stood beside you
From the moment he died when you were thirteen he was there
And you grew older as he remained a young father
I only understand now
how you see that picture

The mind’s tide’s becalmed
The beach endless
These memories now rise
Or settle
With little difference in depth
To the step of the moment that splashes

*

Vanishing Tracks (I)

Vanishing Tracks (I)

On my journey home
the clouds obscure the one road up the mountain
like gods who long
since forgetting what they have made
come this way again
recognizing nothing

A hundred hazard lights blinking
of strangers slowing through that veil
could be seen from a distance
as some kind of worship

A half hour later
the clouds will be gone the road will not remember
they were ever here

On the mountain’s other side
I see them again
three heads on the sky’s coins
all looking away
and then again above the valley floor ahead of me
a tail of a giant sea creature twelve miles long
diving into the horizon

I can bear the gods forgetting all they have made
until they no longer exist
even in memory
and have made nothing
how much heavier though is your forgetting
because I know you
did what the gods could not

Still I will follow these vanishing tracks

*

Note: The three title poems from my 2011 book Vanishing Tracks, and another poem entitled “Sestina, with Christmas Lights,” were written in honor of my mother, who at the time of their composition had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s but was still living with my father. These poems, of course, are about memory, family, the sacred nature of motherhood, loss, and loss suffered across a family in a manner that is keenly unique but which impacts the rest of your life’s views on everything, from identity to suffering to love.