LINES TALKING TO MY MOTHER
IN THE YEAR AFTER HER CROSSING
WRITTEN BETWEEN THE COVERS OF PHILIP LIVINE’S
After 39 years in that house. We moved.
I’m on a boat, now, Mama, Lady of the Lake.
Crossing water on Lake Chelan.
This house is gone. We’re in a new place,
so new it doesn’t have any trees.
I remember your words when we moved you.
I’m planting trees. You’re gone.
I’ve been in mountains talking with men.
Talking about you. Talking like men talk
looking into fire. Sometimes it doesn’t seem
like very much. I’m on my way up lake
to Holden Village, that mining camp
turned temple that first foretold your crossing
years ago. This time you left for good,
like you said, Going to look for Wayne,
Going to find him, too. And just like that,
last breath breathing out, you’re there, together,
the crossroads of eternity where all bills get paid,
and nobody owes. All debts settled.
You left me Dad’s love letters, as promised.
As close to a final word as anyone gets.
So much news, so good to hear,
both of you delivered by your own way
of touching each other into new morning.
Still looking into your story and ways to tell it, Mama.
Still carrying each responsive storm of beauty
from your lips—ways you found to speak truth
to me, no back burner with you, I'm
turned again towards you—and
your line in the sand,
One doesn’t need to go to El Salvador
to find God, although El Salvador
remains a good place for pilgrims
of all persuasions to turn again
towards that, like you, that redeems.
11 September, 2011, Lady of the Lake—27 October 2012, 2010 House, West Valley