Why not make a fiction
of the mind’s fictions? I want to say
it begins like this: the trip
a pilgrimage, my mother
kneeling at the altar of the Black Virgin,
enthralled—light streaming in
a window, the sun
at her back, holy water
in a bowl she must have touched.
What’s left is palimpsest—one memory
bleeding into another, overwriting it.
How else to explain
what remains? The sound
of water in a basin I know is white,
the sun behind her, light streaming in,
as if she were already dead—blurred
as it will become.
I want to imagine her before
the altar, rising to meet us, my father
toward her outstretched arms.
What else to make
of the mind’s slick confabulations?
What comes back
is the sun’s dazzle on a pool’s surface,
light filtered through water
closing over my head, my mother—her body
between me and the high sun, a corona of light
around her face. Why not call it
a vision? What I know is this:
I was drowning and saw a dark Madonna;
someone pulled me through
the water’s bright ceiling
and I rose, initiate,
from one life into another.