Incantation for My Mother
And so with chicory and dandelions I conjure you;
with salt air and pastel chalks. An ozone snap
to bring you back to the garden, to kneel
beside me, pull weeds and tell stories.
Veins on the back of your rice paper hands,
your nimble fingers ringed in rose dust.
The "Polish ridge" above your ruffled brows,
the link, you said, to the Neaderthals.
You, revived, from crooked feet to white locks --
or puffy brown hair and unbent joints. To stare,
eyes wide blue, into the mirror (your makeup face)
or bite your lip in thought. Perhaps
to cycle with me once more the gentle hills
lined with gold fields, or to sink
onto the sand at sunrise, each painting
in our way.
I want to do right
by you, by my siblings. I want the gentle squeeze
holding your arm to walk -- or you to hold mine.
I let you call me Allie. I want to be
as strong as you, to loop my words
like your gorgeous hand writing. But I
am shaken, and trembling. You leaned
on me when your mother died. My heart
still breaks for you. We slept restlessly,
talked at dawn. I write this
at your grandson's hip-hop class. He whips
and nae-naes, and in his journal
he won't write about being sick,
or missing you. He knows the power of words
to cement ideas and make them true.
According to the Wikipedia entry on the term Saudade, "It describes a deep emotional state of nostalgic or profound melancholic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves. Moreover, it often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might never return. A stronger form of saudade might be felt towards people and things whose whereabouts are unknown, such as a lost lover, or a family member who has gone missing, moved away, separated, or died."