Perfectly clear
perfectly blue—

where does
my mother lie?

Underneath an autumn
frosted Florida spring

under speckled
sandstone glinting

like the ring

There, in its round
and shine, I imagine

our hands holding.
But look—here, just

mine, and they lie
palm up, blue

vein furrowed:
two empty fields,

perfectly empty.

Talking Grief

with José Cabral and Marie Etienne

The Biblical is inescapable.
Call God down, it says.

But the clotted heart clamps the mouth.
Cries shunted knot the throat cords.

In the end, my mother also had no speech.
The blood pooled where nerves should have

opened channels for swallowing; the saliva
dripped like false dew into limp alveoli.

The breath, it says—borrowed—
always gets taken back. Left

in my own airless chasm columned
by books, what kaddish mimicry can fill

the terrible burden of continuance? I take
from the French: there are no real remedies

from the Portuguese: the ground fits like a glove
and from the Grief:

inchoate. Nobody lies in the earth and even
to speak of it is not enough