Monday, April 17, 2023

Parlor by Rita Dove


We passed through
on the way to anywhere else.
No one lived there
but silence, a pale china gleam,
and the tired eyes of saints
aglow on velvet.
Mom says things are made
to be used. But Grandma insisted
peace was in what wasn't there,
strength in what was unsaid.
It would be nice to have a room
you couldn't enter, except in your mind.
I like to sit on my bed
plugged into my transistor radio,
"Moon River" pouring through my head.
How do you use life?
How do you feel it? Mom says
things harden with age; she says
Grandma is happier now. After the funeral,
I slipped off while they stood around
remembering-away from all
the talking and eating and weeping
to sneak a peek. She wasn't there.
Then I understood why
she had kept them just so:
so quiet and distant,
the things that she loved.

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