she walked on knives to gain a voice
I was There, Axel, Adrienne Rich
The Last Lesson We Learn
I want the mothers to sign contracts
that they will take their secrets with them;
they won’t unearth the relics of gone children
or lose the imprint of their thumb on the knob
of the stove in a house left long ago.
I want them to hide inside the prayers that hum
the house in darkness and hold the silence that makes
singing a miracle. They should not lift the frail finger
to point to the drawer where the embroidered pillow cases
weigh with heavy letters that would have been written
if they only had time
The mothers have no debt on this earth, everything is paid off
Don’t wax into the chime of old language, melody unstrung.
Fall back onto their commandments that have ruled so many of us
we forgot they were not a character in the holy book fading on the nightstand
only the messenger. I saw you take it when we were busy
and stow it in your duffel.
I know who I am without the dissembling of the DNA, the counting
of fibers and cells and comparisons of form and skin color.
Don’t use my eyes to reminisce, don’t forget where you are
and talk to old friends who haven’t been seen in forty years.
They are not here; I am.
Mothers, you can go. Hard as it is to keep the trunk packed tight
a weight into infinity. Carry it off to wherever is afterwards.
Or forget about it all together. As much as we whisper to you,
we really can’t hold all that is there. Don’t remind us that the dying
have no regrets. Nothing can be done. Sorrow can be felt only
by the living.
Causes Elmaz Abinader Supports