Anthony DiPietro - Poetry

My Mother Repaints the Room Where Her Mother Died

by Anthony DiPietro

as it dries, we try

to name the color. my mother’s

husband says hypnotism,

same purple hue of the halo

he sees in narcoleptic seizures.

my mother says tranquility, the color of virgin mary’s

coat, and of a soap she used when

she bathed us as babies.

my father’s view is that grapes go blue like that

if they’re not plucked when plump.

the september his grandmother

died, her back deck in eagle park reeked

of rotten ones. my fashion photographer

brother disagrees, insists this

is the shade of shredded denim threads.

displeased at the friction, to say the least,

my other brother drives to a nearby bridge

and parks underneath. see the steel beams?

it’s the color of these. oh but this is not the bridge

you mean at all, his wife says. you mean the sound

of chris isaak hitting his

wolf-howl note on the bridge of “baby did a bad, bad thing.”

their son says, no, think of the statue

of liberty, or her shadow if she leaned

and fell in the harbor at dusk. no one has asked

what I see, but I say

blue like the mustang I never bought, speeding

through a green light in december.

blue like the belly of dad’s boat, like dad’s

first truck that none of us remember.

my mother’s mother

has no voice now, of course, but she might

say: some of you wear blindfolds willingly. some

afternoons were dark when I climbed the long stairs to my room.

sometimes there’s so little light

and we can’t tell just where it comes from.