Hours like these
We sit here in the satisfying dark,
Wind whistles at the chimney cap.
A birdseye maple clock keeps cadence,
Knock by hollow, polished knock.

Though she’s been dead ten years,
My mother and I explain ourselves.
Together, we admire the blue
Reversals of the mantle mirror,
The cat-like quiet of our street,

And her antique mahogany buffet.
Hours like these there seems so much,
Yet even we both know,
There is little left to say.
My mother, who was never very young

Or happy or at ease, and I agree:
Our history seems ever slight
Beneath each cold, unshattered, far-flung star—
Antares, Castor, Vega, Acamar—
That crackles in the midnight sky.

I prefer to think I would know how
To love her many sorrows better now
And she suspects that’s true.
Hours like these
The disapproving boy I was still sees

 Her raging, inward, long debates,
Those fixed, bewildered eyes and pinch-purse lips,
The subtle tremor of her head.
What were you saying mother? And to whom?
And what, in turn, from that strange other room,

Was also being said?