Jan 042015
 

Mom n Me 2014Every morning, without fail,
she put her depression and the misery of her marriage
in the dryer that stood in the kitchen
good only for countertop space and
storing the 20 lb bag of potatoes we seemed to live on.

Every morning, without fail
She sang in her happy, lilting voice,
“good morning, Sunshine!”
as she straightened out the blankets I’d twisted in the night,
pushed back the Rapunzel hair my father forbid us to cut
and kissed me softly on the forehead.

Every morning, without fail
the love in her voice
chased the misery of my childhood back
beneath my bed,
if only for a brief moment.
Is it any wonder,
almost half a century later,
that I fall in love with every new morning?

My mother was an amazing compartmentalizer.
Before the last three years
I could count the times I’d see her cry.
Now, it is me who compartmentalizes.
I lay my grief in the hands of friends,
let it wail into the circle of community,
drain it into a poem,
anywhere that its cause cannot see.

I keep my voice and body soft as I
wipe the tears from her cheeks.
My inquiries have become a kind of short-hand,
Sad? Lonely? Scared? Confused?
She nods at one or the other but I suspect
she has lost the meanings of those words too.

She is too big a woman to place on my lap
so I take her in my arms and
lean her on my shoulder
soothe her with
the slow circle back rubs of my childhood.

I breathe slowly and softly
calming her body with my own.
Then I sing to my mother the song of my childhood,
“Hush, little baby, don’t say a word,
Mamma’s gonna buy you a mocking bird,
and if that mocking bird don’t sing,
Mamma’s gonna buy you a diamond ring.”

Being childless,
I once believed I would never know the unconditional love of motherhood.
I was wrong.

But this mothering,
is a painful kind of mothering
for what mother would pray for their own’s release?

Mother, oh my mother,
may you be relieved of this body that wanders aimlessly
as if seeking the soul that has become untethered.

Mother, oh my mother
may you be relieved of the mind that
has become too spacious to hold the fullness of you.

I’m not certain, beloved mother, what is on the other side,
But I do so hope you’re awakened there with a
“good morning, Sunshine!

 

© 2014 Sabrina Santa Clara