What My Mother Does Not Say When Her Son Says
He Will Weep When She Goes
Well, I won’t need your tears then,
laid out in a bleach-thin gown,
hospital bed, hospital light —
one bulb burnt, one flickering.
But I will take them anyway,
as always. Even after tumors
mound in my bowels, look it is you
who suffers, you and your heart
which only hear its own pulse.
You see a crow on the wire;
you caw. A fox blinks in the middle
of the road; your soul stirs.
Living this way must be a curse.
Ancient, meaning original.
But I won’t point that out,
just yet. No, go ahead, walk out
of the room, down the corridor,
when the gray is too much.
Is it already too much?
It will be over soon and your face
in your hands will be your face
in your hands. I have been tending
the limits of your affections
a long time. And I will be there too,
in the pew, beneath the oak, as you clean
salt and dirt from your son’s cheek
with a spit-wet thumb.about the author