Sunlight in Winter

For Naomi Adés

I will remember the stiffening of your body
how words left the dry hardness
of your mouth   and the way your gypsy spirit
abandoned its life-long home

Mother, it was as if an electric current
running from pole to pole   had faltered
as if the luminous beauty of the universe
had begun to fade

But I will recall your laughter and the flash
of lightning that was your smile   the way
your body woke to the first notes of music
your devotion to all you loved

for you gave us the gift of your spirit
that was sunlight in winter   and your life
warmed us and kept us safe:
even when we forgot the source of the fire

that guided us   even when your delight
in who we were   pushed us away
Mother, I will remember your bravest words:
When I get better, I’m going dancing.


© Charles Fishman