Syllabics for My Mother

…………..Your moan, the music of the old country,
your breathing evil in its staccato

…………..taunt. How father haunts the eucalyptus
of the fourth floor window. Miraculous

…………..the heart continues though the rest shuts down,
the body contemplating afterlife

…………..and its many-splendored topographies.
Die if you must. Leave if you really can’t

…………..hold conversations, shred historic maps,
pray with anger, gasp, kneel horizontal,

…………..whatever works, look, it’s not that different
than what you imagined and all is free.

…………..On the wipe-off board the word companion
to alert the staff this woman wants friends,

…………..someone to hear her moan incessantly.
Yes, of course. More than the oxygen tank,

…………..the antibiotics filling her lungs,
she needs just one, her husband’s surrogate,

…………..because his singing voice, his ring, his clothes
gone in a suitcase. Someone surely knew

…………..the lonely accelerate their exit
when there’s no one to hear them. To be heard.

…………..Is that it? The moaning sound only when
someone’s there, the nurse reports. No wonder

…………..you keep telling me to leave, soon after
I arrive. It’s not enough to see if

…………..I see your open eyes. You want me to
hear your cry. I shush you and you oblige.

Lory Bedikian

Lory Bedikian

Lory Bedikian’s first collection The Book of Lamenting was awarded the Philip Levine Prize for Poetry. She earned an MFA in Poetry from the University of Oregon. Poets & Writers chose her work as a finalist for the 2010 California Writers Exchange Award and her poetry was chosen as a finalist in the 2015 AROHO Orlando Competition. Bedikian’s newer work has been published in Miramar, on the Best American Poetry blog, in Tin House, The Los Angeles Review as well as on Poets.org. Her poem “The Mechanic,” is included in the recently released anthology Border Lines: Poems of Migration, KNOPF, 2020. Her work has been shortlisted for Ploughshares and appears in the newly released Spring 2021 issues of BOULEVARD, Northwest Review, the October 2021 issue of The Adroit Journal, the and is forthcoming in Poetry Northwest. Her manuscript-in-progress just received a 2021 grant from the Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund.
Lory Bedikian

Latest posts by Lory Bedikian (see all)

Author: Lory Bedikian

Lory Bedikian’s first collection The Book of Lamenting was awarded the Philip Levine Prize for Poetry. She earned an MFA in Poetry from the University of Oregon. Poets & Writers chose her work as a finalist for the 2010 California Writers Exchange Award and her poetry was chosen as a finalist in the 2015 AROHO Orlando Competition. Bedikian’s newer work has been published in Miramar, on the Best American Poetry blog, in Tin House, The Los Angeles Review as well as on Poets.org. Her poem “The Mechanic,” is included in the recently released anthology Border Lines: Poems of Migration, KNOPF, 2020. Her work has been shortlisted for Ploughshares and appears in the newly released Spring 2021 issues of BOULEVARD, Northwest Review, the October 2021 issue of The Adroit Journal, the and is forthcoming in Poetry Northwest. Her manuscript-in-progress just received a 2021 grant from the Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund.