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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.