2013: I find, read, consider revision
of a poem written 25 years ago.
Emerson Spends A Restless Night: 1831
He woke to her cough, felt the tense
curve of her back, the sharp contraction
of her chest. The dark was all enveloping.
Curtain open he could not sense separation
from bed-chamber and moonless space.
He knew at the first cough, knew as if
a window opened and November's
cemetery chill suddenly swept in. He
could not shut his mind to his mother
saying "use cold water for a blood spot
or the cloth will be forever stained."
But in the morning Ellen folds, hides
her handkerchief, an offering to this
new divinity whose mark she knew
the coldest water would not wash away,
and in her journal wrote "I am the grave's.
It's seal is set upon me."— and I,
suddenly, or think I suddenly remember —
the blood spot on my father's pillow
in one of those 1940 years so long ago.
I know I've told you they didn't tell me
he was ill or what the illness was, that,
brought home, I don't recall the funeral
although I must have been there — and yet —
and yet that blood spot has not washed away
as Emerson's mother says "I told you so!"
and Ellen: "Death will have it's offering."