Hereís the poem my mother wrote ó actually spoke would be the correct term ó shortly before my brother and his wife left yesterday morning after spending the last six weeks with her here at her house:

Itís easier to say hello
than it is to say good-bye

Their luggage was piled high for their journey to Armenia, big pieces, small pieces, all bulging. And though the visitorsí absence will be temporary, the scene recalled the terrible finality of countless painful departures.

Our mother is almost eighty-six. Will that hug be their last? Will she still know them when they return?

*   *   *

She wants us to take her to see the cemetery. Itís not an unreasonable idea, but the request itself is impossible to fulfill, since the cemetery is 700 miles away and she isnít up to traveling. A trip to the foot doctor is an ordeal, and his office is only a dozen miles from here. And yet she is lately under the impression that the cemetery is no further away than the doctorís office ó in another direction, perhaps, but every bit as accessible.

She wants to see where her husband is buried, and where she will be buried. She is convinced that there is no longer a place for her, despite the fact that she and my father made their arrangements years and years ago.

Itís easier to say hello
than it is to say good-bye

*   *   *

Itís the nineteenth day of April, and itís been snowing on and off here in Salem. I donít know if thatís a record, and Iím certainly not going to look it up. But it is the latest it has snowed since we moved here in 1987.

And now Iím looking outside at our main garden space, and at the sun, which has just come out again. . . .

*   *   *

Iím reminded of this poem, which I added to Songs and Letters on December 29, 2005. Itís interesting, to me, at least, that Iíd write such a poem in the heart of winter:

Maybe on a Summer Day

Maybe on a summer day
I will bring you roses
while you look up at me in bed,
smiling at the stranger
who used to be your son.

Each one will make a bright bouquet,
with thorns that sing the blood
of unremembered deeds and roads.

Maybe on a summer day
I will find you standing in the rain,
melting like brown sugar
into girlhood again.

And the rain will be warm,
an urge without an explanation,
sweet beyond reproach,
gently healing fingers.

Red for love, pink for shy belief,
yellow for the sun, a rainbow-ribbon
of light upon your hair, whispers
like the breath of dawn.

Maybe on a summer day
I will take you home again,
a caravan of one along
the narrow country roads
where eucalyptus grows
and the dry grass lies sleeping,
ever sleeping.

Also by William Michaelian

Winter Poems

ISBN: 978-0-9796599-0-4
52 pages. Paper.
Another Song I Know
ISBN: 978-0-9796599-1-1
80 pages. Paper.
Cosmopsis Books
San Francisco

Signed copies available

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