Untitled I She gathers the parts, cold spring winds have blown into corners, up against the rough

bark of oak trees the smaller bits caught in long weeds along the gray tilting fence. Without them, those windblown parts I had grown thin prone to shakes and tremors. The sky, with its clouds low, full of the black shapes of birds, had caused an unfathomable terror, for even they knew where to go while I, hard pressed to take even one step for fear of the precipice, turned inward, ill. II Tenderly, as if they were rare, she smoothes the pages everywhere, opens windows, tends my neglected garden. Her songs are from memory, they lead me to dreams and sleep. Standing guard, she brightens the kitchen, hums and cleans. III Tommorow, Mother will climb in her little gray car, drive the 300 miles to my childhood home, and I, serene, need not follow her there.

The Offering My heart went with you thereInto that dreamless sleep Stood guard, its beat a daughter’s Loving synchronicity The Amen To your unfinished prayer For life and laughter Another 30 years After your slow wake The smile, amazed and amazing My heart came home to nest Fluttered, trembled, then skipped As a happy child might To her mother’s embrace In her bower of sheltering leaves She sleeps through her loss The hollow left in the tender flesh of her right breast, aching Given to study and silver knives In a week they will know its secrets Its unsullied purity

Getting Daddy a Glass of Sweet Tea I will tend to prayers, light red candles to illuminate the way of their passage, and you must keep the faith that led you through childhood it’s unlit alleys, to the eventual sunny place brightened by the dear faces of daughters and warmed by their mother’s embrace The cure is there, fed by loving spoonfuls Though augmented by the bitter science Of white-coated men. Consider it insurance And the weeks of chemical intervention A penance for whatever sins that plague them When the mirror during the worst of it, shocks With its brutal clarity, fatigue and illness Sap the virility once beaming back from there The silver surface of a hardworking manDo not despair, find the sun, an easy chair And know this temporary weakness When you are frail as a child, is the door Where our tender love for you creeps in And you are immersed, doted on, fed Cured, but not of the sweetness, the heat The warm nurturing peace, this life, A glass of iced tea- a token, the purest love.

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