after the fall.

Mark Rothko, Black on Dark Sienna on Purple (1960)
my mother bruises

cobblestones in San Miguel
felled her

i was there
but too far

to catch her
to hold her elbow

knee knotted
hand swollen

an inflated leathery
latex glove

her glasses hid
her color erupted eye

wine dark echo
dimmed & darkened

from the original 
fluorescent burst

of the original fall
the first day

yellow green rimmed
the point of contact

right hand
outer knee

wrapped & clothed

her eye alone
bruised to the bone

reveals & reminds 
me to 

watch my step
& hers


PS She’s fine. Really. I saw her just the other day. This fall happened twenty years ago.

8 responses to “after the fall.”

  1. Vivid and visceral description of your mom’s fall. I also appreciate the Rothko you use as accompaniment. Glad healing is history. Continue to watch your step, and hers.


    • Oh my goodness, thanks for the continued encouragement! The Rothko came to me way late–I almost posted it with some … well, with something that wouldn’t have been nearly as good : )

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved the way you wrote this poem. It has me thinking of many things far beyond an actual fall. We are all so fragile and they watch our steps and then we watch theirs.


    • It’s interesting how a single image, a single memory shows only a single side — in this case, I worried that she’d come off as some frail old lady, which she *absolutely* is not. I guess we’ve all got stories of ourselves that are not ourONLYselves, right?


  3. This is so powerful. I love how you chose to write that the street “felled” her, instead of saying “she fell”–such an interesting choice. I also love these lines: “i was there/but too far/to catch her/to hold her elbow” and the ending, “reminds /me to /watch my step/& hers”. My mom is getting older, and your poem makes me think of what is possible and impossible to catch. Thanks for the ps–I was happy to know she’s okay!


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