Looking Into Her Death

After my mother's funeral, I begin
looking into her death. I go home.
Is it still home? It feels so,
the carpet green and worn,
the doors hollow and light. I go
into the kitchen. I am sixteen
and thirsty. Is it all right to be
thirsty? It must be. I open the kitchen
cupboard. The glasses, stacked neatly,
become luminous on the shelves.
By opening the door, I shed light
on their curves, their brittleness.
They are so clear I can see the dust
caught on their transparent sides.
Standing there, I realize they are waiting.
The glasses do not know my mother
is dead, so they wait for her hands
to take them down, fill them with
beer or juice or milk. Then
her hands will wash them,
her hands will put them away.
She is dead, I say softly, she is dead.
Outside a bird calls. Her hands are gone.
Suddenly I am afraid that the glasses
will slip off the shelves and shatter,
and I close the cupboard door quickly,
then, after a moment, open it again.
I want them to slide toward me.
Perhaps I'll catch them, perhaps
I'll let them smash. Nothing
moves. The glasses are out of reach.
I close the door, I open it,
I close it, I open it.

Published in Phoebe