Monday, May 07, 2007



My mother, now bedridden, helpless, a moored vessel,
sees travel as mere skittering across the surface of culture.
She wanted only to set up housekeeping in another country.

Wherever she went--Colombia, Brazil--she packed along
her settled way, her ease in baking rolls or chicken.
Now she cannot walk, much less venture onto the llanos.

Her stories have been cast off—or locked inside.
Now I have the power of the word. She needs me.
Occasionally her good right hand reaches

across her placid body to the left arm, inert
on its pillow, to rub or reposition it, coax it
back into action. It’s the most she can do.

Early on, we harbor the fear that someone listens,
and then, the fear that no one does. As I pack for Italy,
my mother says she’s glad she doesn’t have to go.
The great dark outside blankets all of us, outlasts
even the ravages of sunlight, said to be stunning
in Rome. Her voice grows faint over the phone.

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