When it works, that is. The secret is creating the feeling that the writer, were just as surprised by the ending as you hope the reader will be. When it doesn't work, the effect is a desperate assembling of random clauses, unconsidered, a piling on of things that happen to be in the room of memory one is rummaging through for something to write about. "About My Mother" reads as just that sort of poem, something composed to have written something, a short form limning of a problematic relationship with one's mother. The narrator recalls things said, meals made, silent gestures in response to his presence in the same room, presented in a tone that does not mean quite mute an otherwise undercurrent of anger and regret; you know where this is going, you know the destination this poem has in mind for you--
compared herself to Beethoven going deaf,
and I said, cruelly, but you know he
had talent, and how she forgave everything
and how I remember that, and how I flew from Houston
to her funeral and couldn't say anything
and still can't.