Mornings before light in this beach house on the Gulf
my parents willed me, my grief not even one year old,
I wake to waves’ music: without asking they come back,
the ancient give-and-take I walked beside last night
too full of myself to find my rhythms in its own.
But this morning from my bed the waters forgive everything.
Unseen, they promise a new day to walk to
and duties thereof: beg the Salvation Army to return
for another truckload of the past I’m giving up.
First light exposes all these rooms as a sad tomb
such as the pharaohs left: I would if I could, display everything
for some museum I would meander, my parents resurrected
in stuff. I can’t do that. I’ll keep this silver napkin ring.
Dumb as it is, a gold bowl we gave them for fifty years together.

Undertow, swell and calm: I’ll take my directions from your music as I go.

Peter Cooley
from his book Divine Margins
Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2009
Used with permission of the poet

Poem for April 13, 2011.

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