I Try to Talk to My Dead Mother About the Election Results

I Try to Talk to My Dead Mother About the Election Results

Black shadows fall
From the lindens tall,
That lift aloft their massive wall
Against the southern sky;

And from the realms
Of the shadowy elms
A tide-like darkness overwhelms
The fields that round us lie.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Today I look beyond the black
dirt of your grave, beyond the bones, into the shadows
of who you were. I touch your face with my fingers, fall
silent as you open your eyes. My grief from
the election seeps from me. Overhead the lindens
speak of nothing else. Your voice stays tall

among the weeds. You were a Republican. That
worries me. But you were my mother, too. Lift
the shovel and help me. Toss the clods aloft
as we watch the flickering red and blue, their massive
bars splayed across the screen. Take down the wall,
the membrane separating living and dead, push against
the heap of history—speak. Side by side we watch the southern
states: Florida, North Carolina, Georgia. A gray sky

flows over us both. You put your arm around me and
I turn my face to your shoulder. The streets shine from
melted snow. How far we are from the realms
of heaven and paradise. How full we have become of the shadowy
dread of these strangers, once our neighbors. Winter elms

stand gray against a hard bore sky. All around us a tide-like
pull. We dig like mice after seeds trying to understand this darkness.
No matter who wins or loses, the gulf between us overwhelms
us all. My mother’s steps falter as we traverse the fields
of muck and ruin. I ask too much of her. Nothing that
she knows can help me now. I am bound round
by the fall of ax, the squeal of tires. Soon it will be time for all of us
to weep. A great nation no longer. A place now of foreboding and lies.

Published in Frost Meadow Review, Volume 7