On that day in September when we walked
the garden, admiring
the peaches still succulent, the rain
landing its timpani on the desert, I remembered
that I began disappearing when I woke.
Before I woke, I had a dream I was almost ready
to be on stage at a stadium. Around me, cowboys
in roughed up denim. The sky was violet in the high reaches.
Erich Heller: Be careful how you interpret the world:
It is like that.
I turned to my left
and saw my mother, my father, my aunt.
My mother’s face was puffy
so I knew it was during the chemo, her skin
enlarging. She still had all her prosperous curls. My father stood
to her side with a stale look
in his brown eyes. Around me the steel of many people
and a full world of silence. I don’t know who I was:
young or old. No one
spoke to me. I realized my mother
was the one I have been missing the longest.
Black birds gawped in a horseshoe of shade.
Beside us, barbecue sugars and lamb shanks, a knife
through a pickle. I hugged her. I wanted it back.
You see, there are so many significances.
My aunt died of fire. My aunt died in the stadium
of her house sated with paper. My father cried that day and now
he never cries. He came through to a gap
of memory, and still draws his pictures of leaves.
His warm palm. Each careful vein.
He makes visible the hollows.
I woke up mistaken. I was a child thinking about a parent,
a reminder of anticipation. But I was
in the desert etched with exhaustion.


Photo used under CC.