Rigoberto González

Thinking Stones


She said stones are capable of thought. They had to be: any object with sound
could think. Something about the waves trapped inside of rock, memory

of time. Something about rock's metallic viscera. The Japanese had it right,
cultivating a contemplation garden on a bed of sand fluid as blood, each rock

electric as a brain, she said. Dementia brought out the poet in your mother.
You sit at her side writing down what intrigues her: horses, because they wear

a fifth hoof over the mouth; flashlights, because they can't keep secrets; and
stones. Lately, even the gravel has been buzzing with collective thought: death,

the last mystery to what has crushed all else beneath its weight—an immortality
suspending rock in the disregarded world of lost gods. Your mother pities

that, and comforts a stone in one hand. You remember your own soft fist inside
her fingers years ago, when your mother could roller skate and guide you

through the terrible, shaky sidewalk. When she laughed, you imagined doves
in flight, seed puffs escaping through the openings of the fence, and everything

else that ascends toward light. Your mother doesn't keep her days of wonder,
nights of anguish anymore. Memory comes so complete it remembers to forget.

You write her in words to make her permanent, but time untethers and she will
tear away as surely as her photographs inside your wallet will not be recognized

when you're as old as she is now, slightly senile and reading a diary of unfamiliar
entries—petroglyphs giving testimony to a last embrace, but recalling nothing else.

Think fossil, think watermark, and think about the stubborn barnacle that makes a grave
of its home. The woman next to you is the place of your birth and she will free you

finally, to wander the shifting plates of the planet on your own. Know now
that she can leave without you, deaf to your cries, your pleas, your fear of

getting locked out of her house. Stand now before the apathetic widows. No use in knocking on the door. Think sleeping oyster. Think coma. Think stone.


© 2002 Electronic Poetry Review