Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Ritual (Over 100 Quarantine Days)

When the work
is done,
I retire to the garage
to smoke my cannabis,
watch a sitcom rerun
and unwind
as I always do.

I walk to
the front of the house
to check 
my daughter's car
to see 
if it is locked,
as I always do.

I walk around
the black
2012 Honda Civic
and check the doors
and the windows
as I always do.

Noting this ritual,
as I have done over 
100 quarantine days 
in a row, I numbly think:

"There is 
absolutely nothing special 
about this day."

At that moment,
I became conscious
of the purple in the dusk,
the melody in the breeze,
the hopeful laughter of 
the children playing 
up the street,
the scent of her hair
lingering from an
earlier embrace
and the warmth knowing
all was safe,
calm and bright 
for the moment,

and the truth 
whispered in my ear:

"Every single thing
about this day
is special."


As parts of
her drift away,


as if released into
the infinite darkness
of that eternal night,

laughing memories
of our life together,
important names,
evocative music,
the taste of enchiladas,

are evaporating
as ice cubes on
a summer sidewalk.

along with
those treasures,
my mother
is also forgetting
the cold score keeping,
the distance, the invulnerability,
the pain of
my father's abrupt departure,

and I find
that she says
she loves me
far more easily.

You Just Can't Please Some People

March 1999:

When my father
was taken
at 64,
two days after
his own mother,

I was angry
and I said,

why did You take him
so quickly?

I didn't even
get a chance to
say goodbye."

June 2020:

As I watch
my mother
video-calling from
her newly-installed
hospital bed,

I hear the
fatigue and slow-surrender
in her voice,

and her mind
is disconnecting,
her memories
are falling away
like rare coins
from the worn pockets
of her lifetime,

and the pain
of this sight
makes me think

why are You
taking so long
to welcome her