Beyond the moon, beyond planet blue and planet red, each day further from the sun she floats out toward the empty dark of X. Having done what she was sent out years before to do, she gave up sending even the faintest signals back to earth, to bend instead her shattered wings across her breast for warmth. It is late, he knows, and knows it will only go on getting later. He shifts alone in the late November light before her grave, as so often he has done these past five years, to try and finish what he knows to be unfinished business and must remain that way: this one-way dialogue between the self, and--in her absence-- the mother in himself. Epilogue, perhaps, to what one man might do to heal the shaken ghost which must at last admit just how many years ago she logged off on her journey. So that now, as darkness drops about him like some discarded coat, old but useful, such as his mother used to wear, he takes it to him, much as she did, to ward against the cold.
From The Great Wheel, published by W. W. Norton & Company, 1996. Copyright © 1996 by Paul Mariani. Reprinted by permission of the author. All rights reserved.