My Mother’s Gift


You visited me near dawn –

I saw you
and felt your joy
and heard your voice,
like a memory of waking to bird-song
on a warm, Ohio summer’s morn –

you used to sing “rise and shine!”
bringing me bleary-eyed, bounding
into my childhood’s
glowing day.

And last night
I saw you again.

I love my dreams about you.
You sweep away
all fear
with your calm voice.

But always after,
when I wake up,
you are gone,
and I face another indifferent day
in this agnostic world.

But this time was different!
“You are glowing!” I said
from the deep mist of my sleep,
“Why does your face shine?
Are you with him, with Dad?
Is that why you’re so happy?”

You smiled (as at a naive child’s prodding)
“Well, yes, of course he’s here too …
but that’s not it.

It is because He Is.”

And though I could not see
what you ceaselessly see,
I gazed upon the overwhelming,
reflected light
enfolding you,
and I tried,
oh I tried, to find its source
but could only feel
its sudden glory…
its unremitting,
warm embrace
of unconditional

I did not want to wake…
I wanted to stay with you,
to die  in the warmth
of revelation,

but of course,
I returned to the morning
to the pale sun,
to the granite and steel world,
to the darkness of the mirror,
to life,

and yet,
your loving mother’s gift
still remains
in my soul’s
deepest core.


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