A Visitation

/ /

Did you bring harm To the child you brought Into this world I want to Ask my mother Every time I visit her Did you seek out Help for your little acts Of destruction Tell me Were you able To somehow manage On your own My father looking on Helpless Forlorn As a witness To all things beyond His control I want to ask My mother if she Was entirely conscious Of the diagnosis Or the meds The doctors had Prescribed She didn’t take Seriously While scrubbing My genitals With just a little Too much vim Or vigor Before I was able To speak If any mother can Intuit the damage She might have been Causing simply By putting too much Effort into A chore Such as this Raising a child She didn’t really Want to have So soon after The firstborn whom She doted on Those albums Filled with photos That survived The fire The house I burned down With my mother In it is what I Sometimes imagined Growing up In those suburbs Of Almaden Before the groves Of fruit trees And old-growth vines Had to be taken Down to make Room for tracts Of houses endlessly Subdividing inside A womb Made out Of asphalt and Poured concrete Such a house As I was born in With a mother Who refused To take a single Photograph of me In those days Before things Could be Uploaded onto clouds Cancelling out The need for Imagining What to save When a fire burns Down Houses Burning down With all those photos That don’t exist Now stored Where I wonder Memories like faces On milk cartons Left out on a table In some kitchen Whose walls were Melting Drapes Going up in flames The digital clock Frozen to mark The exact moment When everything (Like Pompeii) Stopped No way Not to go back Document What never really Happened Too late Now uploading Images from those days Before the wildfires Burned millions Of acres A-once-in-every- Five-hundred-year event Now happening Less than Every five-hundred Days it seems So what Do I have To really bitch about No complaining On the yacht! My father is fond Of saying A father who has Outlived my mother By twenty-four years And counting The two of us Sailing out Into uncharted waters No longer Looking back At a mother turning Into ashes Safely stored In a fire-proof Marble niche On the edge of shore Guarded by angels If you believe In that sort of thing Which I don’t