Monday, August 11, 2014

Happy Birthday, Mama

Today would have been my mother's 96th birthday, had she lived. She died February 6, 2006.

This is a photo of us in 2005:



And this is a photo of my father and mother in 1937, a year before I was born (I can't help thinking Bonnie & Clyde, though they were anything but outlaws) Still it's hard to imagine, looking at this, that he would be a dead war-hero in just five years:



And this a poem I wrote shortly after her death (from my chapbook "Every Burning Thing") :

I Am Not Afraid of the Dead

I sleep in her nightgown,
wear her socks on cold mornings,
and while I brush my teeth,
she stares back at me. I am
smiling into the face of death.

I have keened in anguish
as mourners do; let guilt
gnaw on my mind—-morsels
of remembrance chewed
and swallowed, a dutiful meal.

In the darkness of night
we laugh, she and I, speaking
of flesh flab, bone rot, sour breath.
All that pain in preparation for
carefree repose, the fist falling open.

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