TO BE VIEWED FROM THE GREAT HEIGHT OF OLD AGE
To be viewed from the great height of old age
like your father's bones in a Bronx cemetery
the damage done long ago persists for decades,
one wall-eye veering off the wrong way
like the direction his life took
picking at the seams of her until
she came apart with a sudden wrenching.
Your Mother broke the dinner plate, cutting herself, in anger
his philosophy of life limited to hatred,
of blacks, rich folks, Jews, in-laws,
what he wasn't is what you've evolved into
the ominous presence of him too much for an eleven year old to bear,
but he died before he snapped you in two,
now your two beautiful olive skinned kids,
make you round again, seamless, without end,
you are the immortal protector,
you live forever in them, they go on because of you,
they dance for you now, make you real.
Notepaper and computer screens don't argue,
poetry is a habit forming sensation,
a long aaahhh
hot milk salving your strength,
the carbohydrate comfort of pasta, bread, rice
a sticky metaphoric substance.
no one to raise eyebrows at you,
no one to drop a jaw with a silent Oh ! and change the subject,
no one to quietly turn away
no one unable to answer what you just said.
People remember what they want to remember,
they've all been there, at one time or another,
even those who believe they're strolling through a garden,
talking about the scents, the colors, the fresh air,
when you know they've no path, no gate, no way in.
Shelved books lined up in a decisive statement of who you are,
defined by what you've browsed, bought, kept, read over and over,
it helped you see the person hiding below.
Your Jean Paul Sartre novel now fallen into unknown hands,
probably sold for a quarter when you needed some cash fast,
but then, you reached The Age Of Reason ages ago.
You miss Silversheene, King Of The Sled Dogs, want him back now,
The sound of your husband's breath at night
announcing aliveness so close to you,
the sound of your name in a sharp whisper
Sue, wake up,
not to rise, after all, but to actually awaken,
though the world is full of chatter,
flawed human hearts taking pleasure in believing small lies of each other
for the pointlessness of winning or losing.
It can make you want to stop knitting,
leave the sweater draped over the couch, one sleeve missing,
never rake another leaf, trim another shrub, or pull another weed,
let the car run out of gas,
don't cook, clean, bathe, brush your teeth .…
Imagine the sound of Beethoven's Fur Eloise drifting through the room.