Mother’s Turn to Fly
Mother, today near the yellow
garage, I leaned against the old
paint, and instead of flicking chips
of paint with my finger I looked
toward the old pear tree – crying
in a sudden rain.
Pears have lingered on the lawn,
ants and worms do live inside.
No one saves bruised fruit, or takes
time to eliminate all bad parts of a pear,
Mother, are you with Grandma?
You remember, Grandma took care of
bruised fruit and tossed scraps
from the second floor window
of our city flat, to feed blackbirds.
Mother, those maple trees where you
grew as a child, back home in “Middle,”
you always said, “Middle,” and
not “Middle Granville.”
A small town near the border of Vermont.
You talked about those maple trees and
showed them to me on our rides back
to your home; maple cried into thin tin
buckets attached to mighty trunks, now
Mother, I know you can see me.
Those trees growing in a line with buckets
at their hip, were probably glad when
you came home.
Your leg’s could have climbed their
limbs… You probably tied tin to their
Or, hid beneath the Maple Tree-like
Mother, you are not there, upon the crest
lurking over rusted train tracks, among a
life of marble, close to a spot you called home,
near your brother’s bar. You are not laying near the
lines of maple trees, still crying into a bucket.
You see Mother – now you can fly;
resting in peace would be difficult for you,
but we must talk as if I were with you.
I know you are right here
in front of me, near the gas stove.
I feel a sudden
draft, a light wisp of air.
Remember when you said,
“I’ll haunt you till the day you die.”
I believe you protect me.
Remember when you turned the fans on,
and next tears began to run down the wall – you
tossed pencils on the floor, and your wedding
picture flew from the shelf – you wanted to be here –
planning a wedding, now words came from shreds of glass.
I won’t forget the night my husband tried to wake
me, it was the night you touched his face.
It was nearly Christmas; you made him believe.
Mother, you saw him remove our wreath from
the front door, you watched him drive seventy
miles in a snowstorm, knew he walked waist
deep in wet, heavy snow carrying our wreath, because
he saw you, knew you touched his face.
He placed the wreath on your grave, bowed his
head and talked to you, I stayed behind. On our
way back to the car I noticed snow-filled those
Did you toss the picture to the floor, to let us
know you were going to your Granddaughter’s
wedding? Your tears fell in droplets down the wall
near the staircase, and my husband wiped them away.
All my life we talked about those who made it to
the other side; you knew more than those medical men who
told you I would never survive.
But why not touch my face?
Mother, you can fly over the pear tree and watch
scraps be fed to blackbirds, and talk with Grandmother.
You can watch us sleep, and guide us in daylight.
So fly Mother, fly near the border of Vermont
where the slate catches beans of light, appearing to be
huge slabs of fudge. Watch the rocks as they tumble
from the highest point into the streams below close
to where the maples cry – while you see many familiar
names who rest on the crest.
Fly like an angel, it’s your turn.