by Robert James Berry

           (for my Mother)


  Swing the mattock

  Slice the baked clay


  Flints, chalk

  The blade works through

  marrow of roots

  fashions the six foot plot


  Cotton seals my mother's nose        mouth


  ... Her rings        favourite dress


  I do not know you


  earth        sun-brown

  rills onto teak

    over final flowers


  I am standing farewell

  Then        Tonight

  Your lips still

  Your mask chalk


Published December 5, 1998
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