For some reason my mother's death (fifteen years ago) has been on my mind. I keep remembering (and pondering) things that happened right before she died, right after... maybe because it's tax time. She and I had been estranged since early February over a support group I was attending for survivors of sexual incest. She hadn't spoken to me for two months, but she finally called in early April asking if I was still planning to do her taxes. I said yes, if she still wanted me to. She said she did, so I went over. I was appalled at how she had deteriorated physically in just the two months we'd been separated. She had a heart condition and emphysema and still smoked like a chimney and drank like a fish; it shouldn't have surprised me, but it did. We made up by not discussing the rift between us. That was April. She died in June. Here's the poem:
I'm trying to remember if any of my silences were ever "golden"
White silence I remember, when fresh snow blocked sound in the city
so clean, so pure, even the cabs forgot to honk.
Brown silence maybe, rich as the dense hot fudge
that melted the edges of my cold vanilla heart.
Oh yes... that one time
when the ashes of my mother hit the pale green surf—
floated for seconds on the surface—
then one by one each dazzling speck of dust and bone
caught the sun and sparkled gold
as it drifted to the sand below.
That silence... now that was golden.