Talking to my mother

You no longer remember when
I call. I picture my voice as a
hand waving strident outside an

opaque window, hope snatching at its
ragged edges, while on the other
end, you stand with the receiver

to your ear, gazing at a dust mote
just stirring in the slant of morning
light across your kitchen table,

a pressed julienne of time. Our
conversations are often lively, we
talk about Dad or the weather,

you laugh, I catch myself once
with a swelling in my throat I cannot
speak past for a moment. When we’re

done, where is it that you go? Somewhere
bright and blurry at the center, maybe,
where the best conversations are those that

dot the sweep of night sky, incandescent
pilgrim stars gone far longer than they
blazed. For so many years you’ve

failed to know me (at my still and trembling
core). Why this final frailty of your mind
(that you could no more control than the

dawn) freezes me rigid is something I cannot
explain. Better to be you,
I think, in this equation. Better by

far the one who forgets than the
one forgotten, hung out to dry
at the end of the wire.