The Whistler

In Memory:  LaVerne Kosterman Golden


As if it were a scent of baking bread,

The sound she emitted bewitched me

Into the doorway of the kitchen.

There she stood,

Her palms and forearms covered with suds

And she oblivious.

Her eyes heavy lidded,

Her head cocked, she rocked to the right,

Sometimes to the left.

All the while, she whistled the radio tune

Between two puckered lips,

Expelling it outwards through the open window.

It was her kiss to the world

By way of her own backyard.


I, her son, with an insight as thrilling as her trills,

Could hear how the birds in the gigantic pine

Began to mimic her,

Each one swallowing a single note

To warble endlessly.

I watched the clouds become a single, cauliflower ear.

It listed lower, ever so slightly,

Just to listen to LaVerne.


A child, after a time, I became distracted;

Perhaps, it was the fluttery sails of a butterfly.

Looking back, the sun had burned the cloud

Into extinction.

That star itself set far away.

The pine in the yard grew still,

Then morphed into a sentinel of night.

My mother fell asleep.


Now, I awaken alone, without her.

As I sit in a meadow scribing

A remembrance of her lost, magical art,

I hope to blow a note and hold it long,

An emblem and an echo of her fading arc of song.


Steven Golden


August 8th, 9th, 2014

Franciscan Retreat Center, Prior Lake MN


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