19 November 2008

tom snyder

the orphaned mother
tom snyder

Alone, a mother fingers pearls
at the base of her creased white neck
while squinting at a menu
without prices. Pearl to pearl, finger
to thumb, memories numbed
prey, unforgotten:
how her infant twirled
his hair, as scholar tapped
his pen, as soldier tapped his gun,
as vet now taps his veins.

A dark red stream
spills into her glass. She drinks and looks away
to get away
past the restaurant glass
to a windswept sea.

Skin stretched taunt by
surgeons’ gloves,
grey roots expose her worn out die,
the cover up: what’s died,
what’s dead to her now.

Outside a vagrant wanders
up the beach
and taps upon his wrist,

“Got the time?”

Inside her waiter lauds
the steak tar tar. She can’t decide
what to choose
ever since her sense of loss.

The vagrant frames himself,
centered in her pane.
She doesn’t see his
salted beard, Medusa hair, black
bug-eyed shades, the cover up:
what’s died, who died,
what’s dead to him now.

“Hey, you got the time?”

She sees the wide blue sea
spraying waves on distant rocks.
She spies a toy-sized cormorant bolting
for the water, a rising gold
get-well balloon
smaller than her spoon.

Again, he taps the pane:
“Excuse me, Ma'am?”

Reflections of a tux arrive;
she beckons toward the blinds.
The shade is drawn,
a candle lights,
she doesn’t have the time.

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