The Mother

And so I call my mother
to thank her for
the strength

she gave to me, and also
perhaps especially,
for the joy, because this life

is just a small opening,
a momentary window,
and though

there are shadows
in the dark,
she gave me my hands,

with which to draw back
the curtains
and open eyes to see

the white snow fall
even as this night sky
lights up with morning.

These Chambers

Though I have had the fortune
of great love, there was a time
I did not know my heart.
My child self never doubted
that the world was made for beauty,
and I am still not certain
that this was not the result
of some accidental cosmic luck.

So much love has passed
through these chambers.
And my heart grew
as hearts will,
or sometimes won’t.

The greatest gratitudes of my life
are for the ones
who used their arms
to hold me.

And there were disturbances
more profound than the loss
of my own blood, and inside
these ravagings and rebirths,
great softenings that dissolved me
into a deep ocean of empathy
and into the knowing of what is true:

every heart I have ever loved
will one day sink to the bottom of the sea,
a small grain of sand

… so each moment has become
an unexpected pearl,
and I am learning
to listen to the drum
that beats a quiet rhythm to my daily doings.

Small Candles Haiku

Candlelight dances
with early November snow,
home full of sweetness.

Books and blankets grace
soft pillows, always enough
room for each of us.

The nights grow ever
longer, and still the last thing
I hear is laughter.

Earth wheels her mighty
axis, powered in part by
these small gratitudes.

We Write This Poem Together

The mother’s wish:
to write a poem for the daughter
as a thank you

for walks along
white hospital hallways,
days blending into night,

for the car ride here,
where each small bump
felt like an earthquake.

And the earth does tremor
a little, or at least
your understanding of it,

as all of the walls
come tumbling down
and there is nothing left

but gratitude
and
poetry,

written from parent to child
to parent to child to parent
to child until

the end of time,
an old timey flip-book,
and the dancer dances faster

as the pages fly.
The wind flips the pages.
We watch in awe.

The clock flips the pages.
We watch in gratitude,
the mothers

and the daughters,
the sons and the fathers. We write
this poem together.

Roger

My whole life I thought
that I would write a book
about you

after you died.
I knew all along
that I should have been

taking notes
during the telephone calls,
which were

how we spent
a good part
of our lifetimes together,

and no less close for that.
You knew my insides,
and I knew yours –

or at least,
I knew most.
But by the end,

we knew everything.
It is impossible
to hide the soul

when the body and the mind
begin to fade.
And there are gifts there too,

in this great peeling away.
I am,
because of your love,

your truths
and your DNA.
And the only way

to say thank you now,
is to live
this extraordinary life.