for my mother

If you could have picked your own heaven, 
it would be here at Ocean City with the waves’ 
arched eternity of comings and goings 
and that sweet shop on the boardwalk 
that makes the macaroons you loved. 
All those drives home on Saturday nights, 
your mmmmm with each bite softened 
the parkway breeze squeezing into our car. 
Even in the nursing home, after you’d lost 
your appetite for almost everything, the box 
of moist macaroons could brighten you 
enough to get you speaking about the shore 
and how you met my father in ’29. 
Tonight the moon turns other lovers 
into shadows on the beach 
where I stand holding these macaroons 
that I bought remembering how you loved them. 
Behind me lights dim on the souvenir stands 
and the carousel’s circle wheezes 
to silence, and I feel 
what you felt for life’s giant and tiny joys, 
like oceans and macaroons. Somewhere 
from the center of the sea’s beautiful darkness, 
your soul blesses me still as I take 
a macaroon from the waxed paper 
and bite into the warm, wet coconut, 
a sweet communion with what you loved, 
a celebration of life after death.