A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
On the day Daisy just plain
died, Kenneth Haydon of Benton
“left earth to shake hands with Jesus”
and La’Kesha Walker, youngest
of six, “passed through the gates
of Heaven.” Whether angels sang
or if there were hugs, backslapping,
or kisses on both cheeks à la française,
I don’t know, but I tell you,
it was a great day here on Earth
for the Paradise Casket Company,
who recorded record profits from all
that fancy travel going on. But Daisy,
she went sterling, unadulterated, her son
holding her hand and singing her out.
The song, from America’s old songbook,
for the oldest love story in the world.
Mother and child. Daisy and son.
Never mind his sixty years and her ninety-four.
Never mind the platitudes about a long life
well lived. It was mother and son
all over again. Michaelangelo’s Pietà
repeated, and if he could, gray hair, PhD
and all, he’d have crawled into the cold marble
of her lap if only to be close to the womb
he’d come from, that day sixty years ago
when the two of them, laboring all night,
rode the high hills of pain, she behind,
he in front, head down and coming,
the way he is now—pedaling hard
into that first cold slap of mourning.
Copyright 2016 Alice Friman. First published in Prairie Schooner. Republished by permission of the author.