My mother would stay up long past midnight
the soles of her slippers clacking
against cold tile invaded my dreams,
the hardness of an angry ghost
echoing through the open spaces.
What was she looking for as she paced the house
turning over ashtrays, albums,
in their gilt frames as if asking their names.
Once dementia stole her yearbook
she quickened her pace
as if by watching grains of whitewashed sand
slip through the hourglass's wasp waist
she could pocket every one
become the slim young beauty in her father's monocle.
Sometimes I glimpse her in the mirror
of sound mind. I know what
I'm looking for,
yet still I scour the galaxy
crave the weight of something true
a tuft of hay to curl in the palm of my heart
though a clear memory will do.
What I sought yesterday has faded.
I hole up in the moth-eaten sparrow's nest
in the attic where no one remembers my name.