Can you remember awakening on the kitchen floor,
Your last wobbling spin like a top falling over,
Hitting your head on the edge of the green Formica counter,
Seeing two brushed stainless refrigerators,
Two stoves and ovens, two of my mother
On the phone to me?
Now is the first time yet again
To decide: left or right down the blue carpeted hall
To your room in the dementia home,
All of the family pictures talking to each other in the dark.
You often return to the olive drab Jeep in Korea,
The dirt road after heavy rains, the curve,
The cliche’ of time stopped,
And finally coming to rest with your arm and driver pinned underneath.
How can you not know that you just had macaroni and cheese for lunch?
Your first solo flight in the little white Cessna,
The two mechanics in greasy tan overalls
Ripping your crisp white shirt off, signing and dating it:
How many times can this happen?
For fifty years you leaned over a dental chair
And now you look at your series of three seamless, five-inch bowls,
Each one of maple, oak, birch and walnut, of 206 separate pieces,
Each like a tiny, tooth-shaped rectangle.
Holding the most recent one in both palms
As you ask me, “How did I ever make these,”
I wait for the day that you don’t know
Your son is your son.
August 07, 2009