When I Take Walks With My Mother
When I take walks with my mother
by Robert Rorabeck
I am a tree in the wind— I move,
But I go nowhere; it is beautiful
Sometimes to shimmer—
The light of the moon over running water,
The memory of her face reflected by the sea—
The aching memories that wash and run over
Me, move within me, stampede,
And, exhausted hibernate, but they never leave
Me, the soul’s locksmiths,
Tarnished metals and rings waiting in my chest—
When I take walks with my mother,
I can feel myself in her womb, just to
Be close to the woman who loves you,
A gosling under her wing as she explains
How God turns tadpoles into toads,
How mountains rose their heads from the sea,
How a rainbow leaping over a red ridge
Is his promise that you will go on forever in him,
Strolling in that immortal chest, a perfect memory,
Like a present bought for a lover,
The cherished pet of a young child,
A piece of blown glass still warm to the touch
And glowing beneath the window….
When I take walks with my mother, light falls
Down from the other side of the dizzy universe.
Exhausted travelers rest in between the space of moving
Bodies as the dogs chase a herd of elk through the dusk—
I move but don’t move— I breathe and the memories,
For this short while stand quiet and listen….
When I take walks with my mother.