Saturday, December 30, 2006


don't want it,
she said,
and I knew
exactly what she meant
though it took me a while to
admit it. I'm out
of practice. 80 some years ago
I was the official interpreter
when the grownups couldn't understand
her baby talk.
She would talk to me & I would explain in English
what was on her mind. But a lifetime
of ignoring that connection has
let disappear.

When words on my screen are suddenly not on my screen any more
I say to my daughter, "it disappeared" and she will say
"it hasn't disappeared, you just can't see it now," and so
with this sisterness; it never went away, I just
didn't pay attention any more. I would have said
"and neither did she" but of course I don't know that. Maybe she knew
all along what I've been blind to. Anyway

I don't want to take it away; she's talking
about life, or her life, or any possible life she can
envision. She doesn't want a phone call from her sister
and she doesn't want eyedrops put in her eyes, she
squeezes them out so she has glaucoma now and I suppose
she doesn't really want that; I've heard it's very painful, but
she doesn't really want to see anything any more or try to
read anything. Well, Helen,

in crossword puzzles sisters
are nuns and we've never been
nuns but of sisters we both have none;
still I will call you, too late to help you if I ever could have
but not too late to save me
from despising myself. I'll call,
the way I never called when you could talk,
and I'll say hello and tell you
that I love you. Again. Today
when I said that what did you say?
And what did you mean? I don't
remember but maybe I will know
next time. And I wish you
a safe journey, I do not want to tell you
to rage; you're done with that. You
never wanted it and now
if you don't want it you won't
have to have it much longer.

don't want it either; I wish I knew
your secret.