To be held this way in our mother’s arms,
to be nestled deep in the warmth
of her body, her gaze,
to be adored, to overwhelm her
with our sweetness.
This is what we seek in chocolate,
in the food and drink and drugs
that stun the senses, that fill the veins
with the rich cream of well being.
What we take for lust—can it be, perhaps,
a heavy pang of longing to be swaddled,
close, close to the heartbeat of our mother?
No bucket seats, Jaccuzi, or even a lover’s embrace
can duplicate this luxuriance,
this centered place on the roiling planet.
When the old woman, small and light,
can be carried in the arms of her son,
he, at first, holds her tentatively,
a foreign doll,
but gradually, as the pool loses its ripples,
he sees his face in hers
and draws her to him,
rocking to the rhythm of her breathing.
This is the way to enter and leave the world.
Image credit: "Saigonese mother," oil on canvas, by Pham Viet Song, 1969 (originally color).