by David Groff

David Groff

— noun, queen. Hebrew.
The mother, deprived, needed more than could be provided;
I strained to serve as her first son.
She sang songs from WWI with her father that she sang
again, but who would listen? Not I, clearly her worst son.
Growing old, she grew bereft of earlier selves
and caressed my hand hard. A coerced son,
I put my hand away and kept courteous distance
but still there lay in me a thirst, a sun-
parched need to crawl against who she was,
the urgent, regnant mother, to be a nursed son.
Dead, she lay like a patient awaiting resuscitation
and I stood stupid beside her, the failed surgeon.
What tribute now can I tender
to restore what I did not give her — what reversion?
— None, she comes to say, I am past your laudation,
my Beloved; you are in me always, my averse son, my immersed son, my cursed son.

Last updated December 21, 2022