Saturday, July 5, 2014

Not Yet a Separate Peace

 Not Yet a Separate Peace                       Frannie Zellman

For my mom

I am not yet ready
For you to float
That last peace
Into the final light.

Every system of belief states
That you will know peace,
And considering the trials
Your thin little body has known
In the past six months,
Perhaps I should just let go.
I know your energy will shine
In all its rich fight
As it seeks the next dimension
Or world.
But I grudge the next stage
Its new love
As I stand reluctant
To let your strong voice rest.
I cannot find it in me
To let sixty years’ worth
Of arguments and sad laughter
Leave light and easy.

We were never easy.
You said that I was like my dad,
And now I own that truth.
You didn’t like my strong big body
Or my shy polite smile.
I thought you set the women’s movement
Back sixty years just by walking.
But through the years I learned
To value your love served out in nervous care
And doubt for my safety
Through storms and bad boyfriends.
You began to understand.

Somewhere down the line
We meshed.

Now you lie flat or occasionally on your side,
Not able to move from the bed.
You gaze up at me,
Increasingly vague as the hours pass,
Or preparing to leave the leaden
Body and drift onward.

It is my selfishness, my stubborn memories
That still frame you in your strong testy voice
That called us home from street tag
That told me to forget boys
And honor homework.

What I honor today is your insistence
And your steady refusal
To leave well enough.
What I hold on to in spite of the grace
I am supposed to seek
Is another stubborn refusal
To say goodbye
To your fiery little life,
And let it find its next home.

“Mom, don’t go.”
The signs will advance
You will push to fly
As I know you must and will.
But I can’t ease you away yet.

I don’t know how to give you up
Or start missing you.

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