by Ethel Mortenson Davis
We talked about children,
How they are becoming
serious about their relationships.
We talked about children
How hard it is.
We talked about
how hard creating
a new piece of art is.
How much energy
the making of art takes —
an extraordinary piece of art.
How hard that is:
Like the yellow orchid
in the forest this morning
among the blue waters.
How hard the earth struggled
to bring about that flower:
Like my ancestors
that were sailors,
sailing to other lands —
among the blue waters —
by Thomas Davis
I listen to the patterns of his talk,
not words, but how intelligence melds tight
into the rhythm, substance, breathing, walk
of who he is, our precious son, the light
we want to hold so awfully hard and tight
his brightness will survive for years and years.
But now his voice is weak. We face a plight
no parent wants, but every parent fears.
We sit beside his bed and hold back tears
and wonder why intelligence is not
enough, acknowledgement by all his peers,
his friendships, days of happiness are not
enough, not while I listen for his thoughts
expressed as rhythms in his too-soft talk.
Our girls, when young, while we were driving, clapped
their hands and sang a rhythm song, their voices
so beautiful we felt as if they’d wrapped
the two of us into a world where choices
flowed like a shining river to the sea,
our lives a rhythm graced by daughters’ song.
We had our cares, but we were really free
of troubles that can make life seem so wrong.
Now here, today, I hear my daughters clapping,
hands flying from their sides up to their palms,
and listen to our heartbeats snapping, snapping
across the years to help our hearts stay calm.
Inside this turbulence I’d love to see
our daughters like they are inside my memory.