West Lake Quartet

The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between.
—  Mozart


I have learned to still my thoughts of you
and even seek the music of your silence.

But on this ripened summer day,
I catch the ring of a string quartet
and memory of you resonates.


It is 1995,
and the radio is tuned to a fuzzy FM station.
Light and fluid chamber music
drifts and blends with the sound
of rippled water lapping at the lake shore.

We are at a grey formica table
in a rented trailer at West Lake.
Your baby brother is napping,
and you and I are assembling
a complicated paper model of a spaceship.

I am frowning as
I puzzle over step-by-step instructions
and you,
my wise and winsome child,
are content
to let me mother you
the only way I know how.


Looking back, I realize
that all our future choices and consequences
were also with us at the table
on that perfect summer day.
But we were both so young then
that neither of us knew to care.


And now
you have taken flight —
you are
a stranger
to me now.

And these words are spilling out of me like tears,
and I am searching once again
for lost and simple harmonies
of love between a mother and her son.


  1. This is SO beautiful. It brings me to tears. I am so happy for you that you wrote it. Many, many blessings to you, my friend!



  2. This is so powerful I was there at that table, and sick in the heart as the poem turned, and somehow alone too when the poem ended.

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