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"False Twilight"


Amy Groat

Outside the hotel window pane
the traffic bellows
the blackness of scattered people
anxious, fearful, homeless
from our seventh floor the fury is muted
the city's claws scratching our sill.

New York champagne shines in a water glass
tickles my mother's lips and colors the whites of her
She gazes at the T.V. set,
the anthology of the Beatle's lives mesmerizing
bringing back
memories of Brian.

There is no night in this room, this city
whose lights are a false twilight
that hides the stars, dulls the room
into a moody and pensive cloud of reminiscence.
I sit next to my mother on the bed,
her pink nightgown absorbs
the vacuumed smell of the room -
tiny perspiration drips from her glass.
The Beatle's soulful words sink into the crevices
of her memory
I savor the essence of this still moment
side by side with my Mom
as she tells me of her hippie days and how Brian
first introduced her to "Sergeant Pepper's" -
and begins to forget the room, the champagne,
the cold of city winter crouching beyond our window.

Brian, her first love, her fiancÚ
who smoked out with the Vietnamese soldiers at night
and shot them during the day.
She tells me his letters kept arriving for months
after a telegram announced his death.
She cries as she tells how she searched for his
and knew he held her hand as she sat above him.

I watch her fingers try to wipe away
the wetness on her cheeks
I listen to the fury at the window
and in this room -
I can't kiss away the memories --
of "Sergeant Pepper's",
letters from a dead lover,
the ones she gave my Grandma permission to burn.

This time I listen because I don't know,
and let her cry.

(Writer's note: I wrote this poem at the age of 16)

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