1 Before he left for combat, he took care of everything: someone to plow the driveway, cut the grass. And the letter he wrote me, just in case, sealed, somewhere, in a drawer; can't be opened, must be opened if he doesn't return. I feel for my keys, hear his voice: Less is better. Late for work, still, I linger at the window of the Century Florist, a bowl of peonies, my face among the tulips. 2 Last Mother's Day, when he was incommunicado, nothing came. Three days later, a message in my box; a package, the mail room closed. I went out into the lobby, banged my fist against the desk. When they gave it to me, I clutched it to my chest, sobbing like an animal. I spoke to no one, did not apologize. I didn't care about the gift. It was the note I wanted, the salt from his hand, the words.
What do you say when you've forgotten how the grass smells, married to the dark soil crumbling in your hands? When the sun makes a bed for you to lie in? When a voice you've never heard has missed you, singing down your bones-- it's taken so long to get here. Now I'm breathing in the mountains as if I'd never left. And when I go inside I'm surprised to see a lime green worm has landed on my shorts, inching his way across a strange white country. He stops and rises, leaning out of himself-- a tiny periscope peering from the glow of the underdream where there are no symbols for death. He looks around. I place my index finger at the tip of what I guess to be his head, though I don't see an eye or an ear, or the infinitesimal feet as he crawls across my palm-- a warmer planet. Lately I've wondered what hand guides my way when I am lost. I can't feel him though I see him rise again, survey the future, flat and broken into five dead ends. I curl my fingers to make a cup and carry him like a blessing to the garden-- What will happen next is a mystery-- to be so light in the world, to leave no tracks.