For Lilian Ray Erdos

28th December 1938
10th February 2012
on the occasion of her 78th birthday
 
 .
,
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I still miss you and will for every one of these moments;
Each of them marks the distance between the days
I recall and your last. My Barmitzvah. The divorce.
My graduation. The time that you came to get me,
The days we argued harshly, then laughed.
 
Then your love for your cats and the way
Their separate ashes went with you; my mother’s death,
Like a pharoah’s, taking her precious prizes beyond.
Now I watch from the shore, as the sea folds itself
Across darkness, listening out for your phrases,
 
And the love that we shared, the lost songs.
I still love you and will for each of the moments
Left to me. Even as an old man, slow and shuffling,
Bundling overweight down the road. Perhaps, one
Remembering himself as a boy, closer than most
 
To his mother. Talking to her, while pretending
There would be other years they could own.
I am writing these words in the minutes before
My next midnight. So many nights have closed to you
Since you followed on. But who were you following, Mum?
You were always the leader, and we, the part shadow,
If straining at times to belong. It is your birthday today,
But I have not bought any flowers. And although
I feel guilty, I hope that you understand, For I do not need
To mark the day of your birth or that of your passing
 
As you are inside each decision and each line of my face,
Poem, hand. And so today in the house, I will do
What I do close beside you. I will look at your picture,
And make us a meal you can’t share. Nobody knows
What this is, even if they lose their mothers,
 
For each ghost is different as we reflect on death,
Unaware. I still love you and will until the time arrives
To stop needing. And that is when you will guide me
Through the powers of flesh towards mind.
Searching for your hand in that dark, or in the blaze
Of light sent to take us, we will breach the void
Like stars dying, or the way an instant contains
Each thought’s flight. In the final movement, I’ll be,
Or will hope to be returned to you. Just as we were
Before, two souls shining, In the spectacle dark,
 
Beyond sight.
 
 
 
 David Erdos 28th December 2016

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