Anne-Marie Oomen - December 1, 2020

CLEAVING:ON HEARING MY MOTHER HAS BEEN PLACED IN ISOLATION

Too early, the phone. I pick up,

listen through fog. Bare light

pries me open: I cannot

go to her.  I rise from sheets

wrinkled and damp as insect wings,

larval thoughts, sluggish memory:

 

my mother when I was six, looking

for corn in fields gone dead

after brutal drought,

finding none, not even a blade

of Whitman’s revered grass.

Our lives, mere spit-spattered

stones drying in the sun. Did she

sink into the dust? Did she pull

me into her lap? Maybe I kissed

her, but I think she let me lick

the sweat from her face. That

thirst and sustenance.  How does

anyone survive alone?

 

When I saw her last, home

is what she wanted most,

knowing where the knives are,

how a single piece of toast could

be cut to feed us all. Some would

call that cleaving, which works

both ways: to cut apart,

and to cling with all your heart.

At last, I put down the phone.

Anne-Marie Oomen is a writer writer, workshop leader, literary presenter, instructor:
Solstice MFA at Pine Manor College. Find out more about her at https://anne-marieoomen.com/

Books:
*NOW OUT!: ELEMENTAL: A Collection of Michigan Nonfiction*
*AND The Lake Michigan Mermaid: a Tale in Poems*
* with Linda Nemec Foster. BOTH Michigan Notable Books, 2018*
Also: *Love, Sex and 4-H,* winner Next Generation Indie Award for Memoir;
*Pulling Down the Barn, House of Fields, Uncoded Woman, American Map*