The Mother

My mother has gone quiet – a silence not of lack, or fear
or anger, but of a great attention – a leaning into.

She has left the language of populations,
consequence, variety – even the clamor

of need, she forgets. She smiles at the back and forth
of talk; the art of give and take.

She hears what’s underneath.
Child, she whispers, the sun splashes into the sea;
when the clouds shift, their touch
against the sky rustles
like silk touching thigh.

She is leaving this world.
Her listening is a kind of touch,

the way you’d feel along a wall – intent,
imagining.

She fills and is filled – is glass, pitcher,
water flowing. She stands at the center

of endless concentric circles, at the navel
of the world, from which infinite lines emerge –

a hand through water,
making ripples…

Originally published in A Bell Buried Deep (Story Line Press)