Ross Gay

Issue #
September 8, 2014

Ending the Estrangement

from my mother’s sadness, which was,

to me, unbearable, until,

it felt to me

not like what I thought it felt like

to her, and so felt inside myself—like death,

like dying, which I would almost

have rather done, though adding to her sadness

would rather die than do—

but, by sitting still, like what, in fact, it was—

a form of gratitude

which when last it came

drifted like a meadow lit by torches

of cardinal flower, one of whose crimson blooms,

when a hummingbird hovered nearby,

I slipped into my mouth

thereby coaxing it

to scrawl on my tongue

its heart’s frenzy, its fleet

nectar-questing song,

with whom, with you, dear mother,

I now sing along.

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