When I brought her out to the place after Father died,
months after we put her in a home
she went to the window, where I had opened the drapes;
she spread her arms up to the light, saying
Oh, the mountains.
There they were rocking
in a sea of veiled lavender twilight
striations of crimson clouds, contrails
and geese arrowing off toward Medicine Bow.
So it was that she could have remembered light
when she lay dying.
I go down the stairs with trepidation,
dragging my broken leg in its brace,
the leg that will not heal,
now like a question mark made of iron,
I am like a bear pulling loose from a tree,
bringing the stump with me
To the softness of afternoon, the mare I slipped from
grazing on emerald grass
Never Summer mountains in the distance
At my back, the dark circle of rooms where I have felt safe
the redolent bedroom with lace curtains,
Brahms in the dark,
dolls with upturned faces
in damask bonnets,
a candle beneath a cross
My heart breaks when I think of it
so long in a prison of fear
a cave devoid of angels
Where is the true break, the real fracture:
I caress the face I see in the mirror
and anoint it with cold water.