The Visit

Jason Shinder

 
My only mother, who lost sixty pounds, tried to stand up in the bathroom
and fell backwards on the white linoleum floor in the first hour of the morning
and was carried to the bed in the nurse's arms and then abruptly
opened her eyes, later, the room dark, and twisted the needles in her arms
and talked to her dead friend, Rosie, and heard the doorbell ring
as though in the kitchen in the old place deciding if she should answer,
rubbing the circle on her finger where the wedding ring once was
while slipping downward on the sheets like a body without limbs and I slid
my good arms beneath her arm-pits and pulled her bony body up
against the two thin pillows. And then, when she was asleep again,
I walked down the hallway's arc of yellow light, ghosts hovering
on either side of the doors of rooms where the strange sickness
of being alive was the last thing between dreaming and eternity
which closes like the ocean closes over the blue-starry body
and does not stop, and I understood again that we never come back,
and upright, with everything that takes its life seriously, I returned to my mother.
 
Copyright© 2005 by Jason Shinder. First published in The American Poetry Review, November/December 2005. From his forthcoming collection to be published by Graywolf. Appears with permission of the Literary Estate of Jason Shinder.

Poems by This Author

How I Am by Jason Shinder
When I talk to my friends I pretend I am standing on the wings
Jacksonville, Vermont by Jason Shinder
Because I am not married, I have the skin of an orange
Little America by Jason Shinder
My friend says she is like an empty drawer
The One Secret That Has Carried by Jason Shinder
Irene loves a man / who is afraid of sex--


Further Reading

Poems About Illness
Kaddish, Part I
by Allen Ginsberg
A Litany in Time of Plague
by Thomas Nashe
Afternoon at MacDowell
by Jane Kenyon
Against Elegies
by Marilyn Hacker
Anxieties
by Donna Masini
Auld Lang Syne
by Jennifer L. Knox
Beasts
by Carmen Giménez Smith
Bedside
by William Olsen
Breathing
by Josephine Dickinson
Christmas Away from Home
by Jane Kenyon
Cognitive Deficit Market
by Joshua Corey
Evening
by Gail Mazur
Everyone Gasps with Anxiety
by Jeni Olin
Having it Out with Melancholy
by Jane Kenyon
Her Body Like a Lantern Next to Me
by John Rybicki
Hospital Writing Workshop
by Rafael Campo
In Memory of W. B. Yeats
by W. H. Auden
Losing It
by Margaret Gibson
Mastectomy
by Wanda Coleman
Phases
by Michael Redhill
Prayer for Sleep
by Cheryl Dumesnil
R.I.P., My Love
by Tory Dent
Sick
by Shel Silverstein
The Embrace
by Mark Doty
The Land of Counterpane
by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Nurse
by Michael Blumenthal
The Sick Child
by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Sick Rose
by William Blake
The Subalterns
by Thomas Hardy
The Transparent Man
by Anthony Hecht
To Amy Lowell
by Eunice Tietjens
Tubes
by Donald Hall
Units
by Albert Goldbarth
Visits to St. Elizabeths
by Elizabeth Bishop
Waking in the Blue
by Robert Lowell
When I Consider How My Light Is Spent
by John Milton
Poems About Mothers
Disciplines [If there is prayer, there is a mother kneeling]
by Dawn Lundy Martin
Kaddish, Part I
by Allen Ginsberg
a woman peeling apples, with a small child
by Pattie McCarthy
Beasts
by Carmen Giménez Smith
Chorus
by Catherine Barnett
Exile
by Alicia Suskin Ostriker
Getting Close
by Victoria Redel
Jugglers
by Francisco Aragón
Lucky
by Tony Hoagland
Mama, Come Back
by Nellie Wong
Measurement Fable
by Rusty Morrison
Metamorphosis
by James Richardson
Mother
by Lola Ridge
Mother
by Herman de Coninck
Mother Ann Tells Lucy What Gave Her Joy
by Arra Lynn Ross
Mother o' Mine
by Rudyard Kipling
Mother's Day
by David Young
My Mother on an Evening in Late Summer
by Mark Strand
My Mother Was No White Dove
by Reginald Shepherd
My Mother Would Be a Falconress
by Robert Duncan
My Mother's Funeral
by Ira Sadoff
Parents
by William Meredith
Picking Up
by Evelyn Duncan
Poems about Motherhood
Postcards
by E. Ethelbert Miller
Postpartum
by Hiromi Itō
Rock Me to Sleep
by Elizabeth Akers Allen
She Leaves Me Again, Six Months Later
by Collier Nogues
The Player Queen
by W. B. Yeats
The Routine Things Around the House
by Stephen Dunn
They Call This
by C. K. Williams
To My Mother
by Edgar Allan Poe
To My Mother
by Christina Rossetti
To My Mother
by Robert Louis Stevenson
To My Mother Waiting on 10/01/54
by Teresa Carson
Untitled [A house just like his mother's]
by Gregory Orr
Wedding Cake
by Naomi Shihab Nye
With Child
by Genevieve Taggard
[Sonnets are full of love, and this my tome]
by Christina Rossetti