posted by Gilbert at Sunday, August 28, 2005
In later years, she sat here rarely. Most of the time,
she lay on her bed in a darkened room where
the air was musty and sunlight never shone.
As well as I could, I kept it growing
for her. She could no longer do it for herself.
Yet her life was linked to this place.
I watered her orchids of golden shower,
unchoked her potted plants from weeds. With a stone
I crushed the life from snails and fed them
to the earth. After storms, I helped fallen shrubs
to climb to light again.
Sometimes a sunbird would come to sip nectar
from my grandmother's flowers, and every New Year
the kumquat branches would fill with orange fruit.
In the years that passed, not a single bonsai died.
A tree can live forever.
She would go more easily, I sensed,
if she knew that the life here would endure,
long after she herself had left.
posted by Gilbert at Monday, August 15, 2005
But you were forgotten.
I had put you aside, out of my mind.
Years passed, while I worked at
this small patient craft,
studying the works of others,
on a quiet journey I thought I’d mapped
out to my own voice.
Now by chance, I stumble upon you again.
I revisit your words, with new eyes.
To my surprise, I learn that I’ve carried
you with me all this time,
and every place to which I’ve gone,
you have been there too.
The trail I followed was none other
than that of your footsteps.
I want to shake myself to shake you off,
remove you from my skin, to see if this is
even possible. But I am afraid.
Even as I speak now, I wonder who I’m hearing.
I don’t know how much of you is me now,
and after the tearing off, which parts
of me I’ll lose, how little of me
will be left behind.
posted by Gilbert at Wednesday, August 10, 2005
In Our Schools
Some are Special,
or Express. A few are
Gifted. The others
are merely Normal
(a polite lie).
All are classifiable,
like chemical compounds,
lists of Chinese
or lab specimens of
dead insects -
pinned by a cold