Friday, October 10, 2014

SUDDEN OAK DEATH



SUDDEN OAK DEATH

Tussock moths teased the oak leaves.
He said why didn't you wake me?
I said: am I your timepiece?
I am most at home among the ridgetops.
I am more myself there than among the folds of earth.
Her shoes clattered on the road like a herd of goats.
Flies practiced vertical ascent in late afternoon.
Where does the self end and the horizon begin?
My mother said babies were more interesting than cats.
I hugged Blackie to me as if he were my only comfort.
I hid her craziness from the others.
The cancer, she said, it came back.
I didn't hear her and said something else.
I didn't see the truth in front of me.
She said You were made at sunset, 
on top of the mountain.
It was a wedding of light and sky.
The following Wednesday, her heart faltered.
My truck gears ground like millstones 
as I drove up the dirt road. 
Dust storms chasing me down.
I fought the urge to rewind time.
At the memorial, I remember what she said, 
that her eyes were to go to Stevie Wonder
and her ashes to the outgoing tide at sunset.
I left that box in the closet for 20 years
just like the way she had left me alone
so many time before. This crazy mother.
How was I supposed to deliver her eyes?
The horses of memory lipped at the straw,
it was a season of extreme drought, like now.
No time for more tears, I said.
Moth wings whispering in the oaks.
Sometimes the phone rings, no one there.
The clock is still set on Mountain Time.
What was the name of that song?
You are the Sunshine of my Life?
Plenty of time now for rest, someone said.
The darkness begins, it begins on the edges 
of sleep. The oaks facing their own death
their sap weeping red tears into the earth.
The moths holding vigil.

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