42: coma in cantos, canto 3

canto 3

my mother said the flowers
in the gardens she made
spoke to her, and as a kid
I once made a joke
about recordings,
told her, use Dad’s
and prove the case,
but in more kiddstuff
language, the kind
that always makes the hearer
wish for mankind’s better days,
the kind that tastes of saltwater,
and she put tears
in my eyes
with the voice she used
to turn my offer down

she told me
if I observe them
for long enough,
they bend nearer
and give me a thing
or two about birds,
a thing or two about giants
that used to walk the earth
before men drained
its nurturesome properties
that even the stones used to know
and vibrated off like violin rhythms
when the stones uttered
poetry to the moon

bend nearer to me, she said,
as she used clippers
on the seedmasses
to prevent unwanted
strophes and antestrophes
from writing themselves
too near the bushes,
and I did
and she slipped an earthworm
between her lips
and snapped it down
her throat and took
the mucus off her lips
with a finger and a dirty knuckle.
They’re tasteless if you
concentrate on the anxiety
of mud, she said, and there’s
a pleasantness to the feel
of falling mist, the kind
that portends a coming rain

bend near, they will,
she said, and tell me
things not merely about the birds
and the giants and the castles
of famous knights
and Mexican border fighters
who wouldn’t have tolerated
drug running
(which I now doubt),
the flowers do, she said

out of anger one day,
it was long ago,
maybe in the age of the knights
or some other common night when we
could all hear the border
fighters clashing
against the chain link fences
under falling oil cloud,
the moon as hot as the sun,
I aimed at just one of the gardens
and pretended to be a giant
with heavy feet

next day
I said something
about giants, knights,
and she slowly
went to her knees
and I while I tried,
tried hard, why
I had been angry
became an empty
box or the sound
of sanding in another room
and I told her I had trampled
them, and, if she showed me,
told me stories of seed,
I’d fix things best I could