“Out of that ancient body comes this pulsing energy,
like a metronome constantly marking the Now.”
Ran Ortner

Water holds memory
and so the painter remembers
a furious beauty, seething and soothing,
the unchained, unchanging push and pull
that calls to an interior tide.

Green, blue, octaves of gray,
minerals suspended in walnut oil,
purest white for light caught
in webs of foam

like my mother’s hair, feathery, as if
it could lift her out of the hospital bed.

My eyes search for land or horizon,
but gray waves prevail, flood the frame.
Her bed a vessel, adrift.
I feel the swell,
a churning, dark dread.

And yet, these high notes:
her hunger, her laugh—
these splashes of light.