I look at my hands.
They look nothing like my mothers hands.
Hers were small and china cup delicate
though powerful enough to create our universe.
Her fingers, slim and incandescent, resolving into perfect oval nails.
She scoffed and dismissed those fingers as not enough,
lacking the reach for that next ivory key
reserved for the true concert pianist.
That not good enough created all the sounds of my childhood-
Schubert and Haydn,
tin pan alley,
Lennon and McCartney,
I miss her strong hands, pale and translucent,
I miss my mother’s hands holding my hands.
At this moment,
I have been alive
and twenty minutes.
In all that time, I have never been a motherless child.
That status will soon change.
A new poetry journal arrived in the mail yesterday
and the first poems I read
were by poets grieving
for mothers who had died.
I felt the universe open a little wider.
We are dancing the dance
of the in-between-
light and shadow,
and the place of angels.
Why is it that on first writing, I write
my spirit moves from room to room
as I sit next to her bed
The dying regard the standard conventions of etiquette
of not much use when going about the business
The lessons she teaches
to the very end,
always my mother.
we took the long way home
following the hailstorm
front moving east across the ridges
deep blue clouds receded
thru the winding forest road
the smell of torn vegetation
leaves stripped from trees
limbs hanging, dangling from trunks
sun glared low in the west
an interloper in the woods
canopies opened to the harsh light
where just moments before
green shade thick with foliage
kept watch over the hidden hollows
energy stripped green from
deep blue bruises an affront
with each movement
a clot, an interloper
we search our way
through deep woods
traveling with her
on her long way home
The family joke is that her children rejected her lullabies
To hear The Battle Hymn of the Republic sung in his off key baritone
That soprano voice, trained and educated,
Her hands knowing and strong across the keys
Music that would draw her children to hear
Her song and the music she created
As if following the pied piper
Singing Tammy and Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious
Christmas carols and every hymn in the Baptist songbook
We would sing together
Or sit and listen to her voice
That voice we heard from our watery beginnings
That voice that would bring tears to his eyes
In love and admiration
The sound of the surprise gift of the baby grand
Home in the front bay
Where she would play and all the neighbors
In their homes would listen to the glorious notes
Her hands and fingers and voice produced
That cherished instrument
Sold soon after he died
And then she stopped singing
Her children left bereft in the silence
Knowing finally her music was only for him.
The roses were always in bloom,
Rambling along the fence and spilling over
Within reach of small hands.
Picking the perfect small blossoms,
One for each of the boys and one for me,
Pinned to the collars of our Sunday best.
Sitting in the pew, next to our handsome father,
We hear her voice from the choir loft,
Strong and beautiful, with the clarity of the blood
That filled our small hearts.
She sang and we answered, fledgling birds
Still secure in the nest.
Her singing echoes in my soul,
Her song stilled by her choice,
The music no longer her joy.
Today, I will pin a red rose on my collar,
a tribute to her and her voice,
Rose, the music of my life.
Mother’s Day 2012
Kathleen G. Everett © 2012