A Quilt with Riley's name sewn in (I tell Jamil at night when he asks)
Anne F. Walker
The moon that disappeared full
beneath the horizon
a few nights ago, softens black earth
our lightest dreams are sewn into.
They grow red and living
and light our days.
Gramma has been talking to Tonte, her mother, dead 18 years.
I have been talking to my love about the wedding-ring quilt
Tonte's mother and sister sewed
over a hundred years
ago, that I would like to restore worn pieces of their clothes and bedding
when our son is big enough to help.
Riley is gaunt as his body passes to AIDS.
Two months ago he looked slim as the first
stretch of adolescence when he taught me "shaboom — shaboom" and
how to Charleston with fingers wagging in Golden Gate Park.
He is not yet thirty.
Two months ago he could travel on busses
alone. Now government health workers care for him at home in six
four hour shifts each day, until funding runs out.
Before he goes again
to San Francisco General
where AIDS patients die
and their Names go
down in a book
that has Nothing to do with
Riley, or Gramma finally dying of
because she has loved Riley so deep and so long.
Shape of bare trees
the shape animals trod
in dry grass hills