Poetry: National Parks I Visited While Grieving the Death of My Mother: Yellowstone by Kristene Kaye Brown
In “National Parks I Visited While Grieving the Death of My Mother: Yellowstone,” the speaker gains insight into life and death while visiting nature’s treasures and hearing of a man’s fall; importantly, also, through witnessing the mundane yet complex beauty of nature, the speaker gains peace after her mother’s death.
National Parks I Visited While Grieving the Death of My Mother: Yellowstone
I came the day after a man fell into a geyser, easy as a turtle slipping off
and died. Later that day
the Old Faithful Inn served beer and wine like nothing happened. I was
by the deep quiet of the trees
that night, how when dark came
it came fully and complete.
The lower basin glowed in its blue steam. Ribbons of smoke lifted,
like loosening nightgowns
laced in the silver ice of moonlight,
while I laid in a restricted area where no guests are to go
and thought about the man’s last step.
What did it feel like
to have something so solid suddenly give? And when morning came I
was struck again by the branch inlets and the light,
the ordinary light that is.
Kristene Kaye Brown
Kristene Kaye Brown is a mental health social worker. She earned her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her work has been featured on NPR and published most recently in New South, Nimrod, Ploughshares, Salt Hill, and others. She lives and works in Kansas City.