Mom Cimprich in the Bardo
Go flag down the prophet Elisha
as he pads down Magill Road
and make him come in here.
Tell him to stretch out on Mom,
in the hospice hospital bed
and lay down on her three times
until she sneezes hard.
We want her back, the one
who birthed and diapered
us surviving seven.
(She’d often say that when
she washed that last diaper
she could run it up the flagpole.)
How she appreciated the slants of all
the successive mortarboards that crowned
her eldest, John, at each degree.
Jim came round to help out or
for joy rides along the roads
of Preble and Butler Counties.
Back home when not tuned in
to Eternal Word television, she liked
watch Joe out her window planting
his rows and rows of soybeans, corn or hay.
Her interior decorator Marianne
also kept her dressed in clothes she liked.
She loved eating cocktail shrimp, the ones
that Cindy set out on the kitchen island,
each Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day.
One day she saw the Eastern Bluebird
land and rest on David’s finger;
and another time she caught the grandaughter
who sluced forth from her youngest, Laura.
Will anyone else ever bake for us
so many loaves of kolache
or pour the honey dripping
over the Christmas oplatki?
Yeah, sure, Elisha said after
he’d been told all this. Her cat
jumped off her pillow. The prophet
stretched his body out on hers,
lips to lips, heart to heart, palms to palms,
soles to soles. All waited.
He arose. He turned to us
and said he’d heard a whisper.
You can hardly know the ways
that she’s to be. She says
what she wants now
is fresh air. Catalpa blossom breath
came in the window being opened.
You had me from that beginning, “Go flag down the prophet Elisha/as he pads down Magill Road,” and I would if I could. So full of detail and story.
This is a good poem! The beginning is brilliant. You start us off right away with the fusion of Bible-influenced life and the quirky rural and ethic details. The first three lines are genius.
This is such a wonderful poem. The whispers and the open window at the end are perfect.
What a beauty of a poem.