Up the white road through the olive groves,
past the stretched red string, plumb line for the mason.
At the last bend below the high-tension wires
a three-coned trullo someone has let go.
No lights inside―shuttered windows turn back the stars.
Just as in her last year my mother’s eyes flattened.
Her starlessness caught in the camera at the registry of motor vehicles.
Record of her letting go.
Our guide tells us, “In Puglia, olive trees and stone.”
(And so, white faces peek from shadows.)
In my mind I have made this house my mother.
I have opened her gate; righted her tumbled walls;
painted the petroglyph for Joy on every cone.
What we do not see we cannot change.
by Miriam On'Neal
from Blackbird, Spring 2010