With your enigmatic smile
you were my Giaconda,
pouring out your sympathy like wine,
keeping your feelings bottled up inside
like aged liqueur.
You greeted our son’s death
with stoic silence,
numbing your grief with cigarettes
and concealing the butts in tuna cans,
Cancer creased your lovely face
like brittle leather,
they shaved your head and stitched you up
like a rag doll
and all you had to say was,
“It always could be worse.”
Your feelings were shrouded
like the drenched Hawaiian landscape
on the last big trip we took together
the sunsets reduced to a blurry haze,
the tops of the mountains cut off,
but still oh so beautiful.
Look at these photographs.
Do you remember how
the whales breached in the blue beyond,
the white bellies of the mantas
grazed the divers’ heads
as they fed on plankton in the harbor lights,
how the fiery lava from Kilauea
slid into the sea,
disappearing but building something new?
If you can hear me, answer.
(Originally published in Third Wednesday)