by Jane Craven
In the time of her great undoing
particles of stars—silent and relentless—
burrowed inside my mother’s head. The world
became a shivering thing, tree line
vibrating against the sky, emerging bruise of sunlight. She knew not—
not the splendid
crevasse that peeled open in her brain,
river of fire—this wasting—this new world
so absent the other world
with its dead endings—fresh murals on condemned buildings.
She was tragic and unaware of tragedy— knew only the maze
of the facility in which she was entombed,
wandering—her head heavy and foreign.
I remember when she was whole
remember her loves—long drives in the country—
dirt roads then. On a hot summer day, we stopped at a sandy tobacco field
where a farmer had assembled sharecropper shacks
in the false shape of a village.
They were full of antique clocks, and a loud off-kilter wind of tick-tocks
startled as we opened each door.
I watched as she, delicately, with both hands,
fed a giant sun-like disc into a music box
that plucked out Lucia di Lammermoor with its metal teeth
Si schiuda il ciel per me
heaven opens for me
sings of flowers, and a door swings wide
onto cloudless night.