Basement Elegy (for John Lennon)

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“Let me take you down, cause I’m going to Strawberry Fields
Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about“

In a mother’s absence
Children are cradled by Death,
Who nurses as best she is able.

But she cannot rear us to be ordinary people.
Our bodies grow the same as others.
But Her touch makes us too wise as children,
A bit bent inside and unworldly as adults,

Physical and mental absence leave different scars.
Your mother wasn’t there at all. You survived
The double wound of absence
And a too soon death.

I tended to a body and a shrouded mind
Between Barney and the Beatles
Talk of divorce, infidelity imagined.

Our pain both drew us into ourselves,
But I came after you. Your words
Guided me elsewhere.

Imagine, you told me.

Perhaps another wound made me
a different kind of woman.
A field of strawberries
Grew in the neighbor’s basement.

“Nothing is real”
“And nothing to get hung about”

I waited while he played his strange game
Of force time and again. No one to lean on
But you.


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