For Mom

In memoriam, Barbara Claassen Smucker (1915-2003)
August 2, 2003

If a large prairie quilt could cover the sky,
I’d look up and know Mother’s celebration is unending.

For now, I’ll think of wide open spaces&emdash;
My mom’s Kansas wheat fields moving like waves in the wind,
Mother Mary ascending and then coming down inside people
to help where the holes of life have gouged them,
Mother’s gentle pure heart nature distilled in her eyes,
so so soft, with small curtains of sadness that I could have
dived into them and lived rather than walk away that goodbye.

You’re young again
I see that dark-haired lithesome beauty, cub reporter
for the Kansan, stepping into a rail car to interview
Charles Laughton, Hollywood. He looks at
grain elevators and sniffs. You bristle.
Oh lovely world.
The same Newton rail line brings young highwater pants
glamor firebrand pacifist speaker.
You interview Donovan.

Ah my parents, shipbuilders pounding away at typewriters
like moral hammers, the winds of history fueling.

It’s still. It’s quiet. Are they resting?
I’m taken by this image speaking.

Your parents are fine.
They’ve gone swimming.