I woke up thinking, “I should call Mom, today”,
forgetting that she died three years ago this week.
Forgetting that she had not taken a call from me
at least half a year before I got called to have
the ambulance tear her from her only home.
I still want to call her and ask about her week
and the previous years since we last caught up.
I don’t know where she’s sitting, or if she wants
to walk with me along a pasture fence
in a place not new to her…or one not new to me.
If I go ahead and start a new conversation,
should I pause between my sentences?
to see if she will answer me or make
a comment of her own? She liked to talk to me
but she didn’t always listen. Now, I wouldn’t care.
I have looked through all the emails. Of course,
none are new, and the last that were coherent
were sent a year before she died. I hadn’t,
really hadn’t noticed how far things had gone.
Or feeling bewildered, I didn’t want to see.
When Mother wasn’t panicking, she took me
as she found me, loving me all the while
she wondered why I wanted to be me
and not the daughter that she’d wanted. But
she still trusted me to do what must be done.
I can feel her arms around me, giving me a hug.
I can’t hear her voice, but she knows when I cry.
She can hear me talk to her and read what I write.
I know that she and God are always present to my life.
The separation that I feel is just an odd notion in my mind.
Edited to add: Another in the previous generation of relatives just died this morning; he was 95 years old. Alert and lucid to the end; a low blood oxygen level for a couple days, and then his heart just stopped beating.
When we were children (there were seven of us, and I am assuming that others got roped into this, each in their turn), Dad hired us during May and as needed during summer school vacations to maintain the grounds of the village cemetery where he was the groundskeeper and sexton. He didn’t retire until he was in his 90s. There was particular need for us children to prepare the cemetery for Memorial Day and to refurbish things after the influx of visitors during the following months. My brother Tim and I worked together, being close in age, and we would pass the time by challenging each other with such miscellanea as state and country capitols and other interesting trivia.
My mother died three years ago, this month, and my father followed her three-and-a-half months later. Their ashes are buried next to the family monument, near two siblings whose lives were measured in days.
within the past three years… Suddenly, I’m homesick
for a place I’ve never seen.
Mourning seems to come in waves. In the midst of happiness, remembered losses beg not to be forgotten. That’s a trap, I think. The insistence of the mind on revisiting those intense emotions, long after one has moved on. The bittersweet taste of loves and friends and family set aside until time ends, or else, renews all things.
Brewer: For today’s prompt, write a “back in the day” poem. You might also
call this a “good old days” poem or a “bad old days” poem. To me, back in
the day is synonymous with history–but a kind of personal history (even if
shared among a community).
gold field…harvest time
footprints and downed stalks trail us
our shortcut home
In childhood, we wandered throughout the neighboring pastures and fields, afternoons and early evenings and weekend days. We swam in the creeks and marshes, rivers and shallow pond, often coming home soaked to the skin and coated with mud. When we arrived home in answer to Mother’s call, she often made us strip at the back door and sprayed us down with the garden hose until we were clean enough to come into the house, put on clean clothes, and help set the table for supper.
Brewer: For today’s prompt, write a response poem. The poem can be a response to anything–a piece of news, some art, a famous (or not so famous) quotation, or whatever. However, I thought it might be a cool opportunity to respond to a poem that you’ve written this month. If both poems work, it could make an interesting dynamic to have two (or more) poems that interact with each other.
leaves on edge
dance to autumn’s wind
My husband and I have been talking about this writing prompt, how we feel about being remembered after we die. As a writer, I thought at first that I would want my poetry to be remembered (and I would be pleased if people printed out a poem or two that spoke to them, since one does not remember poems, and contrary to popular belief, stuff on the Internet does not hang around forever). And I write too much, too often, to produce comprehensive books of my work.
Ephemeral experiences, however, are worthy of being cherished. So often, I find, people remember me because of my smile…and mention it to me, when they see me again after our first meeting. Smiles. Laughter. Recognition of a momentary rapport with a stranger. A moment of not-aloneness. When I experience that, I feel somehow more real.
Prompt for the 24th: Brewer: For today’s prompt, write a “how I’ll be remembered” poem. It’s an interesting question: How will I be remembered? My amazing looks? My incredible personality? My charitable nature? My goofy jokes? The cranky guy who’s always telling people to stay off his lawn? Dive into this introspection today.
If you remember me at all,
recall my joy—my laughter.
Remember me. The one who
looked into your eyes
and recognized a friend.
No matter that we’d never meet again.
Remember me, taking notice of you,
drawing your attention. I laughed…