O young mother, ancestors, here I am
On business in the city where you dwelt.
Snug in an airport motel, I undress.
Plying my trade demands a full night’s rest.
I’ll stay, and, oh, I was born, by the way.
That was still to come, in another town.
Then was a time of war, friends and study,
as you soon told me, with covert errands
through rusty streets and alert angel minds
guarding the Pyrenees escape lines.
Some fair students fleeing Haman, mourning
scholars reading Virgil were on your mind.
I, in your future, wasn’t needed yet.
You dressed in tweed jackets and A-line skirts.
In which recess is the rest, now you’re dead?
Why would you care, and where should I go now
if I were to go downtown and meet you?
My positioning system wouldn’t know.
Beyond suburban strip malls, dream alone
can find my path into the ancient maze.
I do belong to this indolent shore.
Let me watch the last planes, the diner’s lights
and send some thoughts to our offspring in space,
none that they will ever pick up, mind you.
But a prayer. I’m older than you were.