"oh antic God"
      -- Lucille Clifton

oh antic God
return to me
my mother in her thirties   
leaned across the front porch   
the huge pillow of her breasts   
pressing against the rail
summoning me in for bed.

I am almost the dead woman’s age times two.

I can barely recall her song
the scent of her hands
though her wild hair scratches my dreams   
at night.   return to me, oh Lord of then   
and now, my mother’s calling,
her young voice humming my name.

Return to Me

Oh God of cold wars,
return to me my father 
before he died, 
in a body you didn't let me

recall his warm smell, the 
soft brush of chest 
against my cheek, his heart
pumping, his lungs filling, his strong arms 
around my back, pulling me 

If he sang to me, I don't know.
And if he did, I can't hear how 
his voice sounded, or
the song he chose to sing.

So bring him back, oh God of 
mistakes, of radiation, of
bombs and deserts and clouds, 

if only 
in my dreams.

Give him the radiant flesh 
of an atomic angel so that
he can hold me in his 
electric arms

Suggested soundtrack: James Taylor, “Fire and Rain”