Not Why

Mama, my son moans when he dreams again that I’m gone.
His hand on my finger curves into a lock when I stand.

I remember my mother’s shape in the darkness
like a pattern, sew it to the quilt, dip the stitch, pull.

Not her smell nor her actual voice when she said she was leaving. Long ago rustle of now.

And he’s sleeping the whole lit known night long,
my fur-feather baby, lobe and lung,
You know I can’t stay, you know

I’ll be here forever. It was a dream is what I say
when he tells me I left and that the house
became bigger and trapped him inside his room.

Nameless rainmaker, pattern of drops, and all we remember
the story we tell of it after.

The dead in the ground are the dark good shapes,
here by the bed to stay just a little while longer.
His warm one lock of a hand.

Hold harder, oh pure constellation.

How do we die, my son asks one night without context while we’re choosing his five bedtime books.

Taije Silverman