Remembering in Part

The Church is auctioning off its precious artifacts.
My mother’s hands press into the floured dough.

In lot three, a set of praying hands,
nineteenth century, Alsace-Lorraine.
With her hands behind my head like a benediction,
my mother pushes me off to school.

I am searching for a body, terra-cotta, to go with these hands.
When she danced with my father, my mother
had to reach up high to clasp his neck.

In the next millennium, all the severed limbs
and detached torsos will reassemble, will resemble a whole.
In a quiet corner of the house, my father holds my mother.
I find them this way, in my room, weeping.


Intermission at the Scuola di San Rocco

We both had the right idea, picking up a mirror
to study the ceiling, looking down instead of up,
and because we were taking small steps, edging
toward the middle of the room, we might have
passed each other silently in the busy hall.

Earlier that day our train broke through the Euganean Hills,
an unlikely outcropping of hopeful green.
After they were gone the fields were flat again,
only so much work the Po could do.

If a gondola can be repaired, wood scraped and repainted,
and Tintoretto can remain fresh under close inspection
by handheld mirror, and hills can stand alone when all
adjoining land is fast asleep, then words can mend,
the hasty ones we wish to gather back again, all saved
by a look from you, from me, in the Scuola di San Rocco,
exchanging colors on our walk across the room.