“A Drop in the Bucket”
My mother, not quoting Coleridge: Water, water
everywhere, not a single drop to drink.
“Nor” was not her style, nor was her addition
of “single” or dropping of “and” singular.
She added many a word to what my father
failed to say, or said. This was the rule in her
extempore kingdom of sentences and kitchen sink.
She was well-spoken … unlike my father, dryly brilliant
scientist who seldom said more than he meant—
nothing token, quotable, or extravagant.
Words, to Dad, were data, nothing to be spoken;
to Mom, syllables strung together, each a token.
My mother wanted to be remembered and quoted;
her magisterium was full-bore, lachrymose, full-throated.