photo: ralph murre
Pastiche for a Daughter’s Absence
by Diane Lockward
It all comes down to what’s physical,
this missing her—her face, voice, and skin.
I imagine my daughter dancing in
Seville, climbing the
mountains of Andalusia.
I had not imagined how far away faraway would be.
Happiness, unhappiness—the same,
my sweet Zen master says,
and I wonder if the top of my head
supports heaven, or is this a migraine
I circle back to the place where precision
and ecstasy meet, remember how I carried the tadpole
of her body, long before the first flutter, holding her
like a secret inside me.
I wake in the night missing
a body part, my arm stretched across the ocean,
hooked to the past, and I wonder,
as Achilles’ mother must have,
Which part of you did I not dip in the water?
Heavy with absence, I hang curtains in her windows,
yards and yards of delicate Irish lace.
I hide behind the door, ear pressed to the wood,
and watch my daughter’s life—her evening paseo,
late dinners in
village square. Saragossa
The room fills with the smell of gazpacho, paella, sangria.
Something like grief washes through me, something like joy.
I slip into the waves, feel the ebb and flow of her,
my water sprite, my sea nymph, remember the way
she glides through a room, the low-tide
of her voice, how she leaves us,
breathless, all fish at her feet.
~ first published in Eve’s Red Dress (Wind Publications)