My Mother’s Tango
I see her windows open in the rain, laundry in the windows –
she rides a wild pony for my birthday,
a white pony on the seventh floor.
‘And where will we keep it?’ ‘On the balcony!’
the pony neighing on the balcony for nine weeks.
At the center of my life: my mother dances,
yes here, as in childhood, my mother
asks to describe the stages of my happiness –
she speaks of soups, she is of their telling:
between the regiments of saucers and towels,
she moves so fast – she is motionless,
opening and closing doors.
But what was happiness? A pony on the balcony!
My mother’s past, a cloak she wore on her shoulder.
I draw an axis through the afternoon
to see her, sixty, courting a foreign language –
young, not young– my mother
gallops a pony on the seventh floor.
She becomes a stranger and acts herself, opens
what is shut, shuts what is open.