Only as the Day Is Long
Soon she will be no more than a passing thought,
a pang, a timpani of wind in the chimes, bent spoons
hung from the eaves on a first night in a new house
on a street where no dog sings, no cat visits
a neighbor cat in the middle of the street, winding
and rubbing fur against fur, throwing sparks.
Her atoms are out there, circling the earth, minus
her happiness, minus her grief, only her body’s
water atoms, her hair and bone and teeth atoms,
her fleshy atoms, her boozy atoms, her saltines
and cheese and tea, but not her piano concerto
atoms, her atoms of laughter and cruelty, her atoms
of lies and lilies along the driveway and her slippers,
Lord her slippers, where are they now?
Copyright © 2015 by Dorianne Laux. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 4, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.
About this Poem
“I’ve been writing poems about my mother who died a few years ago. I’ve tried to write about other things, but she keeps elbowing her way in, saying remember me.”
The author of several collections of poetry, Dorianne Laux was the recipient of the Oregon Book Award and a finalist for the National Books Critics Circle Award for her book Facts About the Moon. She was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2020.
Date Published: 2015-08-04
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/only-day-long