Skin’s Dark Night Amy Pence

For My Mother

The spiral, the meander, helix vine
to trumpet flower,
a center of itself—small blooming embryo—
your hands coming to my body's side
with some fear
we both shared,
arranging the blankets into rungs—
a delicate ladder, all the way up.

Salt, cell, flower, the infinite branching
apart, the word
wanting to have you right.
But can't have you right, can't hold you still—
the dim blue veins under the skin,
the radial trumpet heart.


February 2003 2River