Visitation (December 2001)
At Serenity Gardens, winter
has surrounded us. My mother's room
is way too warm for me,
just right for her–with an extra sweater.
Outside, this uneasy year, her 93rd,
lurches through December.
She is surely serene in this place,
thanks to whatever goodness;
queen of the electronic piano.
Among my chief duties now
I have become her human calendar,
a stay against time, her reach for the past.
Each visit, we review the years.
We sit and we talk, fragile mother,
This afternoon, I assemble for her
some semblance of my long-dead
father, the only husband she had.
I tell her his story.
We study his photograph.
Do you remember him, I ask?
She looks again.
No, she answers, softly. No.
But isn't he good looking!
She smiles. I chuckle.
In the gathering dark,
we cry a bit together:
I for what she has forgotten,
she for what I remember.