M.L. Smoker

From the River’s Edge

      Is it poetry to say that each time I cross over a
certain bridge on the Yellowstone, I remember the way
green vinyl felt on the back of my legs instead of how
my own mother’s feet, stiff from death, felt in my hands?
I did not know that a poet could feel words rising from
drops of sweat about her knees. Or that what my palms
pressed against was only silence. Can a poet speak of a
second version of her mother? The one who lives in a
silent cave where she allows no visitors, gives no interviews.
Her memoir is being written there by a shadow seven feet
tall that can hold no pen or pencil, both hands missing.
My living mother dreams of new waters that have no
adequate translation.

M.L. Smoker
From the River’s Edge is reprinted from Another Attempt at Rescue (c) 2005 by M.L. Smoker, by permission of Hanging Loose Press.