'All I know is something
like a bird within her sang.'
I look for her in the morning,
the mockingbirds in her garden
still asleep. She is not in the hall
or lying by the rockingchair,
watching daylight take
the fences and the orange trees.
Her leash is gone from the kitchen
and her toys, so I go out.
There's sourgrass by the corner;
any dog would stop and sniff.
Not there, so I drift a moment,
over the freeway, to the bluffs
where I used to watch her run.
Look, footprints where the trail
turns to sand and the salt smell of the sea
comes up. Someone small has
stopped here just to dance, and see
how the tracks stop, as if she danced
a little while, then flew off.
|Poems in Memory of Stella
"Every person gone has taken a stone
to hold and catch the sun. The carving
says, "Not here, but called away."
I turn the morning over and over like a stone,
the road ahead of us falling away into fog, though
the day was clear. The sea hangs there, a plastic
backdrop for the scene with boats painted on.
Two months pass, the lilacs bloom and
the mockingbirds come back, chatter and sing,
swoop at trespassing swallows. I put your toys
away, and learn that gravity gets worse, like weather.
I will not forget the needles, the way you seemed
to celebrate the lights, nor fail to thank God that my mother
stood and turned away before the poor world made a last
appeal for influence, and touched your face with death.
June 8, 2000