Elm Tree, Hammock, My Mother, Grace
I asked her if I could see the new scar,
a hysterectomy nearly two weeks
faded, and might have known she was too weak
to say no, that I had gone much too far
with her to not already know these curves:
staples winding across her stomach, her
distended belly and bald head, her hands
still strong, rocking us, curled in bands of rope.
And then she lifts her shirt for me. The world
is humming: wasps come down from hidden nests,
a Cessna crop-dusts nearby fields, and motes
of dust will clutch anything. A squirrel
caught between trees on a too-thin branch, tests
what can hold. Still, above the ground, we float.
First appeared in Tar River Poetry 49.1 (fall 2009)