by Nancy Meyer
A Week at the Grand Canyon with My Ninety Year Old Mother
I still don’t know if I am a falcon, or a storm, or a great song. Rainer Maria Rilke
Gravel skids wordless into the abyss
where the chocolate-dark Colorado shoves
the cliffs. Six comings and goings of the Pacific,
a fossil trace and shards of shell.
Mother and daughter, we know
about wearing down, about patterns
fingernail-scraped in bedrock.
We stroll the rim, slow into a ritual:
meals, naps, bed by nine. Live
with the distance.
Cottonwoods blink green, relieving
the sun-blasted rock.
Silence wraps us, what we do not say.
The condors come
winging us with cool shadows,
stripping away the last raw bits
from what is already dead.
The two of us
pick at imperfections as if we could whittle
each other down to clean bone.
Shine on the Puddle
There’s a child whose name I’ve meant all winter
to recall: in my dreams at night, gray eyes shyly
turn away: at noon, bright and blue—It’s as if
a trace of her that I’ve ignored bounds into being,
sturdily, a sense I’d forbidden before, and now
I’ve welcomed. It is easy to hide, a ghost in one’s
own closet. Now light glints into every corner.
A Music Almost Too Far Away to Hear
Petrified is what we were, I’m sure, and
then bold though it rarely broke the surface.
You closed your ears, eyes down, you opened,
you cracked a smile.
The once-in-a-while amaryllis
thrust erect, rosy surprise from the arid patch by the road.
Cicadas grind on, sow bugs shrivel, who
are gray…curled and gray.
I: the granite that everything, even breath, assaults.
I who will be the rolling fog that
pours over the crags