by Elisavietta Ritchie
WHY SOME NIGHTS I GO TO BED WITHOUT UNDRESSING
(For poets Josephine Jacobsen, Rod Jellema,
Irene Rouse, Roland Flint, Barri Armitage,
and David and Judy Ray, who lost sons and
a grandson in automobile accidents)
Even as my children scale
jungle gym and pine,
they too are swinging toward silence.
In desperate dreams I try to save
my daughter from the flood of night.
Still she drowns and drowns
while both my sons
spin nightmare wheels
against a thundering sky.
This wet midnight terribly awake
I pace the living room. My youngest son
is driving his broken Toyota home
from The Grateful Dead Live In Concert.
The storm keeps pouring over icing streets.
Finally I go to bed
but toss, alert for doors or else
strange strained voices on the phone,
and I do not undress.
-Originally published in Full Moon, 1984