A Promise

/ /

For my mother

There have been strange visitations You felt only now and then, when The dog lay in the middle of the road Refusing to walk, sensing you about to faint;

Or when you got up from the table And the house moved with you As if on a merry-go-round, the porcelain Spinning in a brief, silent film.

Someone read the map of your brain And found there ravaged side-roads: “Interval development of subcortical infarct, Of the upper left frontal operculum, chronic now.”

“Operculum” is a lid, acoperire—the word Protects our vulnerable language, itself in need Of sheltering by something less brittle. Your new hair color looks lovely!

Wait until I get there, please, stay till I can come to hold you and talk about cures; Now the roads are blocked, a virus stalks and kills, People fall like grapes from vines. I’ll be there.