Tamara Madison is the author of the chapbook The Belly Remembers, and two full-length volumes of poetry, Wild Domestic and Moraine, all published by Pearl Editions. Her work has appeared in Chiron Review, Your Daily Poem, A Year of Being Here, Nerve Cowboy, the Writer’s Almanac and other publications. She is thrilled to have recently retired from teaching English and French in a Los Angeles high school.
A Buddhist once said each life
is a river branching off a larger river,
and every river flows in its own path
to the great sea that is death.
I imagine my parents in that sea –
his bear-arms pulling side stroke,
pale legs scissoring the green tide,
her in a flowered swim cap doing
an Esther Williams churn –
one stroke face down, one stroke up.
I doubt they’ve even looked
for one another there; now, each one
visits me. Even on this chilly morning
I feel the circles of their separate
embraces, hers close – I can almost
feel her spirit-breath – his wide
as a ring of Saturn. Now
they’ve swum off far
into that great sea; may it keep them
ever cycling on its currents back to me.