Nov 162012



by Zan Bockes


When my father woke, this tree

was bare and bright with melting

ice, branches cased

in a glass coffin.  Did my mother

see this tree as she died?

Or was she dreaming?


A year later, my father and I have come

to relive the shout of that moment, how

the sudden shift rippled

through the last journey–

the hurtling car, no one to forgive

or blame.


This is the place–

the two-lane leading north to Geneva

losing its bearings on the sharp

curve, its shoulders soft

from a late January thaw.  Nebraska’s

fields open wide beside the highway,

rows of withered corn a suggestion

of dormancy, their brown husks

shivering in cold sun like a tired army.


Did my mother wake as she died?

Did she catch a last glimpse of my father

dozing in the passenger’s seat?

Or did her own dream continue

past the breaking point, when

one life was exchanged for another,

sleep exchanged for waking?                                     


The tree, frozen in its silver shroud,

still stands as witness

to ends and beginnings

and the dream we live in between.