By the time the light reaches us, empty
sunflower fields are pitted with more craters.
the final time I saw my mother
she was trying to find
the last strawberry on her plate
I lay a Haggadah by a chair,
Unearth my Seder plate,
place upon it shank bone, egg, parsley,
bitter herbs. My bitter tears.
The word became the mantra of
her last few years, which were, in fact,
often disconcerting: her descent
into dementia, her cancer diagnosis,
her fall, her fractured hip.
my mother has worked her way up
through the wave-rungs
of the spirit-corps’ fleshless ladder—
secretary of the afterworld
Sitting at the table with the paper birds,
she unfolded mine and began to read.
I couldn’t make out a word
she was saying.
I hoped returning
would spark memories, fill her with light,
the way the heat of day warms the bones.
When the poet said blue city of bees
I was reminded of the blue cotton robe
my husband gave me, a shade my mother loved
I wish I could say
I lay your body under the honeysuckle
the day you crossed over, let vine and wisp
hang nectar all around you.
Then, you stop weeping. Lift your face from your hands.