for my mother
If you could have picked your own heaven
it would be here at Asbury Park with the waves’
arched eternity of comings and goings
and that sweet shop on the boardwalk
that makes the macaroons you loved.
All those drives home on Saturday nights
your mummm with each bite softened
the Parkway breeze squeezing into our car.
Even in the nursing home, after you’d lost
your appetite for almost everything, the box
moist with macaroons could brighten you
enough to get you speaking about the shore
and meeting my father in ‘23. Tonight,
the ocean continues its blue journey
and the moon turns other lovers into shadows
on the beach where I hold these macaroons
that I bought remembering how you loved them.
Behind me lights dim on the souvenir stands,
the carousel’s circle wheezes to silence,
and I feel what you felt for life’s giant and tiny joys
like oceans and macaroons. Somewhere
from the center of the sea’s beautiful darkness
your soul blesses me still. I take
a macaroon from the waxed paper
then bite into the warm, wet coconut,
a sweet communion with what you loved,
a celebration of life after death.
(Published in The Sun )