(originally published in the Xavier Review)
My eyes in the mirror have become
creatures unto themselves.
Still I look for some sign,
some indication, some forecasting
of the sorrow. Who could have predicted
within your final coronet of silver wisps,
you would hold an old halo of copper
rings to your pale, pale skin,
and that you would possess, too,
a luscious pair of purpled shadows
under your dying eyes: all of which
led, ultimately, to this prayer.
Adrift this way, it’s getting easier
to interpret things as signs
from God; the heavens always moan
best just before dawn… this trembling
world is more bizarre than even I,
the temporary visitor
from another planet, had imagined.
Blood-drained corpses line the path,
lightning scorches the road.
Things I once took
for granted, being lucky, vanish.
I wanted to be with you
when your soul left. The rest
without you will be forever
a near miss. On the way
to the funeral home, a seagull
sank like a stone in the ocean
of air, through the flat broad sky —
the whiteness of the feathers
(so white!) — how they blew
in the wind after it landed,
like tender fingers praying, praying.
Let me pretend one last time
you’re my mother, or my lover.