I chose to understand this poem literally, although I can see other ways it can be interpreted. To me, it’s about the loss of parents who were your world and the provider of your ideas of truth. Life capsizes us and we are “cradlewrecked” and left sometimes to take care of the aged parents who are like the infants we once were.
“Mom was an axiom…”
[Listen to an audio clip of Kenneth Koch reading “The Study of Happiness.”]