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.

Blue Pillows

When I miss you, she says,
I make pillows, says she,
I sew your name
with the colors I see,

and when she comes home
she gives them to me,
blue pillows, blue pillows
and stitches.

Our lives are not
what we thought they would be,
and your face it says it all
when the words escape me.

Darling, dry your eyes
we got all that we need,
blue pillows, blue pillows
and stitches.

Eleven

Hand in hand,
our breaths freeze
into the shape of laughter
and the moon
is smiling, too,

white-toothed crescent
suspends the last light
of the setting sun.
We buy magnetic bingo
to play

at the Thai place,
where we take too many mints
and wink at each other
each time we pass
the bowl. At home,

we crunch the candies
between our teeth
in a pitch dark room
to watch the sparks fly,
a trick your grandfather

left for us, you tape
blue paper
to your arms and flap
your bluebird wings
into my room,

I watch you fly,

and we are in the middle,
you and I,
not quite what we were,
nor what we will
become, and lingering
tonight,
so joyously,
so perfectly
in between.

Shawl

On days
when the veil
is a bit
thinner,

I want to
wrap you in
the warm fabric
of my love.

***

When I
came up against
the idea
of losing you,

I walked to a field
and stayed,
until everything
became quiet.

***

Let me take you
back into
my arms, let
our tender

bodies soften
beneath leaves
that float down
like questions.

Dusk and Sunshine

I see it now,
riding behind you,
the trail unfurls,

at last more green
than brown.  I am startled
to be looking at myself.  Your hair,

my hair, your movements,
my movements.  And yet,
there is so much

that remains unwritten –
so much of you
that is only yours,

your life opening up
like this very river.  And so,
I see you also

as wholly yourself, perhaps
for the very first time,
or at least for the first time

in this particular light,
as the sun sets below
the San Juan mountains,

and we bounce along
over the mossy banks,
over the stones.

Old Wound

I dreamed last night
about a little girl,
she was my daughter,
but by the end
of course,
she was me.

In my dream,
my mother –
she and I
trade chairs
so that I am sitting closest
to the little girl.

The man is on the stand.
This is the time
to put him away.

I hold
the blond girl’s hands and she
holds mine and this time,
I am the one asking the questions.

Yes and yes and yes, she says
through the tears
and the nodding.

Those tears,
already on my pillow
in the dark.

Sorrow
cracks me open
in the dark house,
alone.

Perhaps it is about innocence,
or the body’s cellular longing
for resolution,
or maybe
it’s about how we
give pieces of ourselves,
and how others
take them away,
and how thirty-three years later,
in the dark hours before the sunrise,
we are still allowed
to want them back.