Here’s a nice poem for a September morning.
This is a good one for folks who tend towards pre-20th century poems, who miss the
colons and "O"s of, say, Victorian poetry. Personally, I stayed for the puns.
Aria Aber (a bare air) has just published her first book of poems, which won the Prairie Schooner Prize. -ed.
MOTHER OF ALL BALMS
Morning she comes, mother of all balms.
Only the news reporter says it wrong:
but aren’t you strung: little ping
and doesn’t memory embalm
your most-hurt city:
those yellow creeks of your rickety holm
where your mater: your salve:
left all her selves behind
so she could surrender to a lifetime
of Septembering: what she members most:
yellow grapes and celeries
and visiting her father’s glove
a balm, to be by absence so enclaved:
a follower, devoted
to what she cannot see. O air miles,
how can it be real?
How uncertain you should
be if it existed, if there are no photos left
of her playing
on her childhood lawn—
burned are all the documents, or eaten—
an ancient unguent,
enshrining what cannot be held
of what went missing—the dog, her hat of hay,
one brother. She was in prism,
your mother says—and that’s how you will write her,
atoning her, just in fluorite a figurine caught
to fracture her stolen years,
all her once-upon-a-chimes.