from a dusted window,
and realized with astonishment
that my mother had brought these images to me,
that I owed any poetry I wrote to her,
that she had dusted the window, planted the tulips,
planted me beside her, beside the window,
before the flowers, to see that world
of which she was the greatest example.
I remember when she brought paintings to school –
the “painting lady,”
she carried in her arms copies of Monet, Seurat, Degas.
We children sat on the floor of our classroom,
and she, who I knew every day
from breakfasts, lunches and dinners –
casseroles, spaghetti, chicken with artichokes –
moved freely in the air
of our childish interest, familiar exciting stranger,
pointing at people, making us laugh,
dreaming out loud for us,
who heard the earth of our imaginations rumble.
Is it enough to say that in my mind
she will always be connected
to those flashes of warmth and color, air and light?
The graceful ballerinas, facades of churches,
community of gazers at the water
on a leisurely Saturday afternoon,
everything harmoniously organized
like her office, bedroom, house.
In movies with warm mothers, therefore, I see her,
her outline, working in the kitchen, typing in her office;
in paintings of mothers, in Proust’s love for his mother,
even of the word “mother,”
I hear her voice,
and feel a guilty pride
to be her son.