BY MARY JO BANG
Mother, I am bare in a mist-mad forest.
Only the moon shows me love.
Winter will crush me: tiny arms, pale feet,
tongue of rust. I have a thousand visions:
you ironing an enormous dress; eating
chocolate and honey, sausage
and a luscious peach; the sun drunk
and easy; spring blowing raw sky
and storm scream; someone running.
You cry, Go, go. Take them, will you?
He does, along the sea road with its
stopped ship fast asleep. In this place
of elaborate beauty, it is late autumn
and mostly quiet, except when
the heaven-born wind wags and flaps
the branch he left tied
to a sere white ash. Silence itself is strategy,
a signed language,
gorgeous, fluid in the hands
of those who learned it in childhood.
You know we were never meant
to live here, only to learn relinquished,
forsworn, to grasp with wet hands the cold
metal of life, then find a way to let go.