from Ruth
Forrest Gander
Her husband lifeless
in chair facing
TV, whole days
mute, her own mind,
her hearing,
shot. And it won’t
get any better. Absolutely
nothing to look
forward to, she says
to whom if
not you?

Wearing two identical
left shoes. No one
believes I don’t
dye my hair, she remarks
for the umpteenth
time. Point taken, I’m
grayer than my
mother though
in the mirror I see
her face, her small
dark eyes.

Five states north, he
wonders what
causes the
he hears behind
his mother’s
voice: she must
be down on the
floor, the phone
in one hand
and with
the other
must be
scratching the
tumorous dog
whose paw
rakes the carpet.

green case on the nightstand
glasses on a Redskins lanyard

green glasses case
containing one hearing aid

minus its battery on the nightstand
glasses on a Redskins lanyard

in the green grass
under one of many bird feeders

in the backyard thronging
with blurred mute birds

Occasional muculent chortling
or choking and steady
beep of the EKG.

The beak-hard
determination to
be a good person,
what happened
to that? How
is it true
I have to
go now? For her, the
occasion of my
presence begs
more. Who is my
mother now I am
unspoken for?

So take her hand, walking in
the garden: an animal moment of warmth
she won’t recall after our sit. Voracious
starlings ride a swinging cage of suet.
That signal enthusiasm in her eyes
muddles with torment. Choose whatever
you will and the disease
still wins. Like a heavy shawl,
the shadow of cloud drags across
mountains on the horizon. Maybe I’ve
misread her expression.

To plunge into love as into a sidewalk.
Came awake as though I were a siren going off.
The ugliness of putting food in my
mouth, my belly gurgling
like so many horseleeches. And so
days-to-come will crack open without you,
dropping their yolk over places you walked.
And the white lowly primrose will foam
wild like some scrap of your happiness
refusing to abandon me. Blah blah. The
mirror in the shrine is memory. All
you lived adjusts now and is lived back
in me here on earth. A flock of geese
sifts through the barrow pit. Postpuke
acid sears my throat.

To find the present breaking itself
loose from the sequence of events, bolting
through gaps in the corral of context and
carrying its befuddled rider
into an expanding plain of brumous outlines.

Photo by Ryan Plomp on Unsplash