The Trip to Bountiful by Gary Fincke

The Trip to Bountiful

“When you’ve lived longer than your house and family,
you’ve lived long enough.”
          – Carrie Watts

For her last visit, my mother
arrived by bus. Conversation
was penance. Apology a charm.
The VCR worked a miracle
that fed the afternoon.
Downstairs, the weather
headed north, the house
six months old, surrounded
by infant shrubbery
and small, vulnerable trees.
Geraldine Page has died,
my mother said while
sorrow and wistfulness
settled in even before
the house in Bountiful
loomed catastrophic with loss.
My mother, throughout,
concentrated as if she had
fallen in love with longing
for the impossible.
And I, become companion,
allowed her, with rewind
and pause, to absorb
the expressive face
of a woman who wanted
nothing more than altering
the foreseeable future.
In the near dark, I allowed
the unspooling of credits,
extending her privacy
all the way to copyright
in what I believed was
generosity grand enough
to be labeled love.
Then we sat together as
empathy embraced us
like a shy, new arrival
until my mother settled
into her silence, the one
with rhythm so familiar
it was performed with no
accompanist but memory.


Gary Fincke’s collections of poetry have been published by Arkansas, Ohio State, Michigan State, BkMk, Lynx House, Jacar, and Serving House. His next collection, For Now, We Have Been Spared, will be published by Slant Books in 2024.

2 thoughts on “The Trip to Bountiful by Gary Fincke

Leave a Reply