The everything

Time stand still in travel

This has happened before, I remember.

We sang our way along the pre-dawn length of Massachusetts, over the fog-draped Hudson river, through the rain battered New York thruway, then followed the curve of Lake Ontario from Niagara to Hamilton to Toronto.

Along the way, we made necessity into rituals, stopping at our favorite service areas with names only a mother could love: Blandford and Clarence. We ate breakfast sandwiches and oatmeal, then gassed up the car and let more miles glide out behind us.

How many times have we made this trip before, and how many more times?

I’ve been in this hotel room before, too, or one just like it. And here, at the keyboard, I know I have something to tell you, but the breadth and depth of the day has wrecked me a bit. I’m weary. My eyes are closing, my fingers light on the keys, my thoughts winging back to long ago car trips, us kids in the back seat.

It’s night and I see the angled reflection of the dashboard and my mother’s profile in her window. I’m looking past the actual mother to the window mother and I can watch her for hours as the miles tick along. She doesn’t notice my gaze. It’s dark and the world is a rolling feeling and nothing bad is happening. I notice that the moon is following me. No matter where we go, which turns we take, the moon stays with me, my own puppy dog.

I’m forty years from that memory, and I can’t recall my mother’s face as clearly as I can recall her reflection and the moon’s silent affection. I’m losing her voice, but I have her profile in my heart. I’m in a hotel room in the country where she was born. I’m looking at her brother’s face, and I see hers. I’m close to remembering something, but my eyes are closing. I’m thinking of a song.

This has happened before. This is happening now. This will happen again.

Here’s a scene
You’re in the back seat laying down
The windows wrap around
To sound of the travel and the engine

All you hear is time stand still in travel
And feel such peace and absolute
The stillness still that doesn’t end
But slowly drifts into sleep
The stars are the greatest thing you’ve ever seen
And they’re there for you
For you alone you are the everything

Open to the rain and flowers

Wind and rain

Crabapple buds

Golden Russet bud

What happened between the time that poetry month started and now is that spring arrived. The piles of snow are long gone. The birds are raising a ruckus at dawn and dusk. There’s a bird at twilight whose call is a creaking thing, like a complaint, or an unoiled door hinge. We don’t know what that bird is, but we enjoy making its noise back to it. A conversation for us, if not for him or her.

What happened is that the brown buds on the fruit trees have turned furry and are peeling themselves open to reveal pink. Spring is coming slowly, as it should, and the blooms are pacing themselves accordingly.

What happened is that I’ve been basking in poems every day and spinning lines in my head, and sometimes even scribbling them down in my notebook. These are blooming slowly, too.

What happened is someone long from home finally returned to where she should be.

What happened is, on a spring evening, there were three of us, driving on a road parallel to the river just after dark, music on the stereo, and we were there. I was in the back seat, with my teeth in my mouth.

Everything is beautiful.


One last poem for this month of poems.

This one is written by my friend, Mary Kane. Her book Door was published earlier this year and I love her words. I’ve had a hard time choosing just one poem to post, but I finally decided to share the last one in the book, because today the rain is pattering, and the world is getting green.

There Will Be a Woman Written in as a Wren

I’m collecting folding chairs for use in the very big poem I
am getting ready to write, something about the size of a small
auditorium, only open to the rain and flowers. You wouldn’t
believe the way the look of a young cherry tree or a street or
a husband can be altered by even a single day without speech.
I might use a broom to paint the corners of the poem, and
there’ll be a young boy tossing a baseball in the air, higher
and higher, always catching it in his glove. I have shells in
my throat. It makes it easy to sit by the window watching the
world get green in the rain, not making any sound. The young
boy with his ball and glove has no fear of the sound of his name.

–Mary Kane, from Door, Copyright © 2013 by Mary Kane