Monday, March 11, 2013

For My Mother, Frances R. Vasquez (1931-2013)

My mother died on Saturday, March 9, 2013.  The following poem is for her who gave six children their lives--no greater gift yet devised on the planet since the universe exploded.

On the Day the Universe Ends
for Frances R. Vasquez

On the day the universe ends
 the sky shuts down, inundated
 by pneumonia's lung-borne flood,
for no ark drifts to shore.

 What songs the sparrows improvise
from branches to bowed power lines
go unsung, unplugged,
for no one monitors their jagged notes.

All the boys in grass-stained jeans
ladder down from tree houses,
chilled from the night's starless elms,
for the cold rungs give out like breath.

And the girls?  The girls know
what their ancestors knew, baptized
over the cistern's veined, mortal waters
on the day the universe ends.

--Robert Vasquez