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
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.