Sunday, June 12, 2022

poem

 Cursive

Old mom sent me a card for Father’s Day

She never does that, how nice!

Telling me she’s proud of me

How good of a dad I am,  

She’s sweet.

She used to write so beautifully

In a lovely looping cursive script

That ought to be its own font.

You could wear her written words

As jewelry or decorate your kitchen curtains 

With complex repeating patterns

Of her Dear Jeffs and Love Moms.  


She’s older now and her hand shakes a bit

And that elegant penmanship 

Yaws with a tremored wobble

Like a dodgy arterial line tracing.

It makes me sad, how all beauty 

Eventually begins to tremble,

Dampening down to asystole.


I still have the book she gave

Me for Christmas when I was sixteen—

Shakespeare’s Complete Works

The inside cover filled with an inscription

She had carefully written

In her humble but confident calligraphy,

Hidden like a secret medieval codex,

Telling me the best was yet to come.


I used to think her writing

Was the prettiest thing about her.

I should have paid more attention, I guess.

I’m sure there were other ways she was beautiful

So many ways I must have missed.


Life is full of illusions.

I’m always getting disabused 

Of this notion or that.

Even words lose elasticity

Flatten out into rigid meanings 

Or oscillate into wavy split ends

Plucked and flicked out a window

 

I have always exclusively printed

In a sharp angular chicken scratch,

Slashing into the paper

With a sequence of hashes and dashes, 

As if I were writing with numbers—

Fast and mechanical and perfectly clear.

Above all I wanted to be understood

Aesthetics be damned. 


But who cares what I ever meant.

I don’t even understand it anymore myself.

Just look at Mom’s gorgeous capital L’s and J’s.

Those lowercase f’s and g’s

The perfect vowels of uniform height

The mathematically precise spacing;

I get it now. 


I thanked her for the card

And asked her to try to write

Me more often, anytime she’s bored,  

Even when the letters start vibrating 

With such turbulence they begin to unwind,

Slackening as a sine wave function

Of progressively dwindling amplitude,

Not even letters anymore

But crafted all the same,

Losing energy with the passage of time

Eventually collapsing into a straight line

That runs off the page

And out the door and down the road

Finding me wherever I am


And there it will be up to me 

To make it curve again

For I still believe

Our best is yet to come

Even when she isn’t there to see


6/12/22

1 comment:

Thera said...

This is beautiful.