This is a bit of a cheat, a revision, but I was glad to get back to it.
ON TELLING THE CHILDREN
I will be apprentice to this study for her. I mimic her gaps
for context, retrace the irrevocable meander of her logic for empathy
because I was born her fair to poor copy and she’s my polestar.
Inside her: gaps and bursts. Most days the bursts
are heartbreaking. Other times we circle the same gaps,
and I try to be as I know she was with me once, our bleak
and common future to reverse the sphinx.
That you don’t know her is your misfortune. To know what she was,
which was a hot planet’s core, a late summer’s best light
is a gift reserved for a small cohort; my mother will die
thinking I’m a dream or another version of herself
Language was always between us, so my job is also to bear
the information for all of us. I seek it out as if it were a hunger,
then recite it back to her like a lullaby or a curse.
I tell my children her brain is pocked with illness, and I summon
up the softest image to tell the story. It’s a soft pink vulnerable jelly.
It is translucent and contains the future. In this reverie I hold it
in my hand and against a lamp because this is my form of intimacy.
My nails trace the brown spots that mark her losses. Beautiful
and sad and strange, I tell them because I need to make it into something else.