Collected Works

by Peter Marcus

The world scoured
by mop, broom and rain.

Landscapes fallow
as the moon, as my mother

fretful without her wig
between the chemotherapies.

As I traveled north
from Leh toward Srinagar,

the women gradually
hid themselves.  First hair,

then lips, then the eyes
dimmed like two winter suns

beyond shapeless clouds.
My mother’s collected works:

keeping the house spotless
and playing competent bridge.

And recently added to her list:
staying alive for my father.

What is this veil
between you and me?  Where

is that bridge on which
one might cross back?

A first edition hardcover,
glacial and untainted

in the middle of a crowded shelf,
pressed on both sides

into obscurity.
While within your poems

nothing hidden
but the end,

which in itself
is an endlessness.