(Poem 1: A wish, Poem 2: Reality)
after the apology
most of what i remember is lightning
rage clenched eyes gritted face
teeth like stone against stone grinding, igniting
fire fury that wrote letters, nothing but
thunder between us.
but there was that longing underneath, yearning
for mama, to cry out mama, to hold and be held
by mama the great, secret ache
known very well and only
by the safety of loneliness, of the weeping self.
That was years ago. We are different
now, anger soothed to patience, letters no longer kept
as evidence to the crime of us but looked upon
with understanding. I, no longer a curled up crumpled child, You
no longer a strange figure but
slowly, a friend. Living that dream
Of We, You and I asleep
no more. The broken cord now held
by softness and delicate words, the awaited disarmament
of pride, the call to forgiveness
The Sky Over My Mother’s House
translated by Edith Grossman
It is a July night
scented with gardenias.
The moon and stars shine
hiding the essence of the night.
As darkness fell
—with its deepening onyx shadows
and the golden brilliance of the stars—
my mother put the garden, her house, the kitchen, in order.
Now, as she sleeps,
I walk in her garden
immersed in the solitude of the moment.
I have forgotten the names
of many trees and flowers
and there used to be more pines
where orange trees flower now.
Tonight I think of all the skies
I have pondered and once loved.
Tonight the shadows around
the house are kind.
The sky is a camera obscura
projecting blurred images.
In my mother’s house
the twinkling stars
pierce me with nostalgia,
and each thread in the net that surrounds this world
is a wound that will not heal.