Listen to Maria read her poem on the Rattle site
“IT’S BEEN A WEEK
… of looking upward, inward, below the surface and back in time.”
—New York Times, D3, May 5, 2013
This year has been a year like that for me, you, already three
years dead and crossed over to that other place where I cannot
touch you, and I left behind looking upward to that place
where I imagined heaven is and where I hope you can feel me
missing you. NASA announces its plans to bring a piece of Mars
back to earth. I’d like to imagine I could bring back some
memento of you, though my friend tells me I have
to let you go. I read about a 23-million-year-old insect
of a previously unknown species found in Europe,
so perfectly preserved in amber that each tiny digit
of the 1.8-inch-long animal is clearly visible,
all its soft tissue intact. Sitting in my recliner now,
in our family room in the evenings, my legs elevated,
my eyes fixed firmly on the TV screen, where I watch
British mysteries, I suddenly have an image
of myself preserved in amber, tears on my cheeks,
the TV remote still solidly positioned in my hand.
What would the scientists of the future make of me?
This chubby woman alone in her silent house, half asleep
in a chair that holds her like a huge brown hand.
They would stare and stare, but how could they know
all the grief and longing that pulsed
below the surface of her skin
and in the chambers of her heart?
Published in Rattle #50, Winter 2015
Maria's Official Site is at MariaGillan.com. Her latest publication is the poetry and art collection, The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets.