17 January 2015


suppress it, I remember thinking
fighting stubbornly all day
against the spark of a release –
the clouds too fought, likewise choked up.
the fields, the wild crocus, held up
to wintry blows

more pronounced
farther up the mountain
around us the branches were half naked still,
and I was half naked also

that they said to join them surprised me
I had assumed punishment would continue –
in its way, it did –
I wasn’t left behind, I sat among them
ostracized in their company   

the proprietor welcomed us,
sit anywhere he said
gesturing in resignation at the empty tables
giving a shrug when mother remarked
how the sudden cold chased business away

I watched the Easter meat roasting,
the slaughtered lamb
getting crisp and fragrant
while a cook tended to the coals.
come kore, see the spit turning, he said to me
and I was grateful he chose not to ask if
I could see out of my bloody eye,
he didn't ask how my face got bruised,
stained colorful as indigo-dyed eggs

             I no longer recall the reason
             but each had taken a turn
             both together
             the three of us joined
             in a sinister "pas de trois"

I think he sensed my embarrassment
how conspicuous I felt, ashamed, wary,
because he spoke softly to me, and kindly,
despite my silence.
I was looking for that half-dream state
to lull myself with,
an entry into the realm of plenty:
serenity, absence from pain, friendly hands.  
I was searching in vain,
wasn’t I conditioned not to expect?   

nighttime I dream of running,
mortified, nearly naked.

Routine Excursions:
hairdresser, highlights, for me.
pharmacy, bronchodilator, for mother
coffee, large, one shot, mine
coffee, small, decaf, mother’s
but mother, who otherwise
wore an armor of steel
had never learned to be alone:
"you like solitude, don’t you?"
she would ask me with contempt

"are you leaving again?" she would ask

"you are making me pay by leaving,
now I pay for what I did to you
the days you were a child"

it was a late, late day
at the shutting down of eighty decades
and I turned to face her from my threshold,
             discarding the urge to love her,
startled by her pronouncement
and its dubious clarity.

             now I wear the guilt
oh mother, oh mother, I am sorry –
I don’t forgive you yet,
I can’t.