Word


 David Woo

 

The high sweep of waves, like the bulging arc

of a grand piano, and the silence of deer in a field of

lupine and trefoil, and the underthrum

of the engine turning a switchback back

to the city—"afternoon fog," the announcer warns,

each new sea vista reverting to redwoods, back

and forth, back and forth, as if we were tracing

the sinuous legato of the Schumann trio

on the car radio.

 

Today the patches of sunlit mist that flow in

through the foothills and obscure the filigree

on a row of Queen Annes are occlusions

from my mother's CT-scan: that steel-blue blur

on blur of cortex and wine-dark hemorrhage.

 

A year after her stroke they've flown out

for their anniversary, the otherworldly monotone

of her "aprosodia" leaving her wary of voicing

the love of new scenery with anything more

than a tactful coo and purl,

until we emerge from the last tunnel to where

the bridge's gargantuan red suspensions

loom between a lowering mist and the bleared

upswell of blond hills, showing a mere tendril

of red cables and one tower's massive tuning fork,

uncanny, oddly collate, but enough for her

to stutter, "Beauty, beauty, beauty...,"

a word my father whispers to completion:

 

"full, full, full."