Issue 95, Spring 1985
In the name of one more leavening
I hoist the flag, the closed eye
of the letter B in cursive here.
I go to the sidewalk of losses.
In jeans and corduroy jacket, I walk
the way I imagine my father did
in shoes that touch down at intervals
whose useful hesitations I can’t deny.
I confess I want a child this morning
because I’m homesick for my father,
for my mother who phones me her life
and for me most of all as a daughter.
Distanced by death, by miles, indelibly
inscribed in a place that is real:
Ida May, West Virginia, Marion County,
on a date that is real: October 7, 1946.
I’ve been seized by the pause wedged in
between myself as remains and remaining.
A hum from the pause tries to center here.
Mercy is flesh made flesh made flesh.
A bum from the pause tries to center here.
Innocence gathered during the night
lifts its palms in the tarnished glow
the going casts. It’s the new sameness
I can count on: my God, the window
frames a flood of leaves so green
they seem to cry, “Here we are.
Nothing to come after. No promise.”
And the glory’s in the memory I take
to Manhattan where I find myself