The hands on my father’s clock have stopped.
I think my mother is involved:
She alone is ticking like an absurdist’s timepiece,
Obsessed with death and destruction,
Afraid of the dust in the sky, and the apparitions.
My father has been reduced
To staring past her bones at his clock,
Thinking it’s all a mistake which will be corrected.
If mother would just stop stalking his clock,
Which was harmoniously ticking
Unlike the clock in her nightmare, a timepiece
Which has not had the correct time in years.
I hold my mother in the palm of my hand:
She’s like a little chick, soft and confused.
She closes her eyes whenever
the sun crosses her face; it’s a wan
Face now, full of forgetting.
Mama told me she had worlds in her mind; I didn’t know what she meant when I was little. Mother was quite set in her appearance; she wore her hair in a shellacked mane, so that her ears never showed. On my twelfth birthday – like all the others, we spent it alone – she said my present was extraordinary, and must remain our secret. She handed me a lighted magnifier, and lifted the plank of hair over her left ear. I looked inside her ear; the galaxies I saw! The stars swirling, the planets rotating so slowly they stood still before my eyes. That was the first and last time my mother showed me the worlds in her mind.