Monday, December 06, 2021


Click here for an audio clip of the poem. 

Apologies, mother, that you had no funeral. It was too close

to call the priest. Shovel of dirt. Flowers. Strangers with masks

in charge of lowering the coffin. Cyber condolences. Incense.

My sons face the screens. My sons face a future without most

of the people I loved. The teacher calls on those who are fast,

fed what they want for lunch. My sons clench their teeth.

All the funding has gone to the birds. Beautiful creatures, gleaming

feathers, whose babies have their feathers combed by aardvarks

and stool pigeons. These fledgelings always get to bed on time.

Postpone the check-up, the procedure, the poetry of mourning,

there’s a pandemonium of voices coming from a white tower

full of more fowl. Where are they all coming from?

Bombs. Children and mothers die together. They didn’t get

a chance to contemplate as they did on school days. The forests

destroyed. Their husbands already buried. Conveyer belt methods.

I don’t want to talk about kin, kinship or cognac. It always ends

with maps, my father’s voice, my ancestors kneeling by graves.

I want everyone to stand up to choir it out. Even the dead.

There is no such thing as writer’s block. There is no such thing

as writer’s block. (Their favorite pencil was left in their usual café,

while the chandelier doesn’t give its typical, shrewd light).

Prison. In prison because they always wrote, even when they were

told that you are pissing off the guy in charge. The guy in charge,

when he was a boy they should have given him ripe apricots, pencils.

A reference to Donna Summer doesn’t seem to fit the tapestry. Don’t

see why not. Donna Summer lived in Los Angeles, she sang, ignited,

died. People still play her songs on the corner of Hollywood and Vine.

Dad, did you find Mom? Before she died she wanted to hear Elvis Presley

sing I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You, but I don’t know if that ever

was taken care of. She never told me if she missed you.

An antimicrobial resistant infection is not an easy thing to take care of

when almost everything is limited, when almost everyone seems

daunting with their masks and no masks and deranged attitudes.

I hear Grant Green’s Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child

while I wash another sink full of greens. Sometimes motherhood

is a well without rope or bucket. Even the blue sky still hunkers down.

Lory Bedikian

Published in Adroit Journal

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