My dearest T., through present grief, one sometimes relives past ones; they are never truly past, are they? I cannot speak of any of this intelligibly because my hand seeks yours or L’s, and the precious attention you offer. Holding your hand, I have often found ways back to myself and my walks with both you and L. have trailed into my words that are textured and marked by utterances of movement and landscape as indeed our own lives are. I am thinking of

Riprap
Gary Snyder

Lay down these words

Before your mind like rocks.

placed solid, by hands

In choice of place, set

Before the body of the mind

in space and time:

Solidity of bark, leaf, or wall

riprap of things:

Cobble of milky way,

straying planets,

These poems, people,

lost ponies with

Dragging saddles —

and rocky sure-foot trails.

The worlds like an endless

four-dimensional

Game of Go.

ants and pebbles

In the thin loam, each rock a word

a creek-washed stone

Granite: ingrained

with torment of fire and weight

Crystal and sediment linked hot

all change, in thoughts,

As well as things.

 

You would have loved my A.

My mother sent me a photograph from our childhood that I have never seen before. A has her arms around my brother and me. I am sucking my thumb and looking as absorbed as I always look when I am doing nothing. My brother is smiling his serene Buddha smile. She looks radiant and so young. And something about the way she is holding us suggests that yes, she is here, but she will get up and go now because something else in the house needs to be done, because her hands seek work and all the objects she touches, too, need her attention.

 

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