What My Mother Remembers
by Anne Elezabeth Pluto
A lid to a plastic container
I left in her kitchen at Thanksgiving
A story about a musician who
spent the night in a yama*
with a wolf -- playing his violin
while the wolf howled -- how her grandfather
was the only one who wept at the train
station -- where she said Farewell
to the family she never saw again.
We Russians call the devil to us in every
sentence -- or send someone to him
with the wave of our palms -- or tell
someone that only the devil knows
what we ourselves have forgotten.
She remembers being a child
when Jesus called to her -- and saved
her from the war -- from hidden aspect
and torturous hunger -- she spent it here
and learned what it meant
to be American -- the devil doesn't come
to our house -- we are too close to
know where he stands or sits or speaks.
We call him to us and push him away
too full of the world to reason with
angels who fell backwards and clipped
their fragile feathered wings.
(*Note: A yama is a deep hole dug into the earth, often used as a trap. It derives its name from the god of death in Vedic mythology.)
ANNE ELEZABETH PLUTO, a former Buffalo resident and University at Buffalo Ph.D., is Professor of Literature and Theatre at Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass., where she is the artistic director of the Oxford Street Players. This poem is from her new collection "Lubbock Electric," available from UK's Argotist Editions.