Lost Time (1997)

Jay Kidd, Poetry

It was on an airplane that I let my
mother read the first paragraph of
Swann’s Way, my travel reading.
She, the eternal English major,
confessed that she’d never read
Proust. Her eyes were wide with
delight as she said “now that is a
sentence!” the one about the
gentle boy grasping the ephemeral
mysteries and terrors of sleeping and
waking. Then, somewhere over Virginia
I think, I had some reason to tell her
that almost all of my friends had
died of AIDS. She burst into tears,
putting her head in her hands,
stiff and bent from arthritis.
I realized that I had never told anyone
that fact before. As we parted at
LaGuardia, she to the suburbs
and I to the city, she looked at me, her
right eye red from a blood vessel that
burst when she cried, and said
“I had no idea” her voice almost a
whisper, her eyes again filling
with tears as she turned and
walked away, pulling her small,
compact suitcase behind her.