Sunday, August 25, 2013

The voices

The voices arrive one day without warning.
No troubling ideas, just constant chattering. 
But this scares my mother nonetheless.
This is her mind, her spirit, her ego. 
Her instrument for living in this world. 
I want to ask if the voices sound like her, 
if they have a German accent, 
but I don't dare. 
They have no physical being, she says.
Her mind is blank, just noisy, coming 
from another consciousness. 
She talks to the priest about the voices 
and he wisely sends her to a doctor 
and gradually the voices fall silent. 
When my mother tells me this, the voices
are long gone. 
She is calm, unconcerned. 
She says it was just an electrical problem.
She is sitting across from me at Howard Johnson's. 
I have not seen her in two years and she looks and sounds
like one who is able to bear what she must bear, 
able to adjust herself to any situation, 
and sometimes adjust the situation to her, 
as she does with that situation that is me. 
She does not seem vulnerable, nor like someone 
who will ever die.
But I dare not question her too much 
because she does not like to be questioned.
And so, because, I cannot read her mind, 
I study my mother's face politely 
as I would a stranger's on a train.