Friday, January 28, 2011

conversation with my dead mother

Conversation with my dead mother

I can see you sitting across from me in the little pink booth at Govinda’s where we always used to go and where the blue gods wear jewels and carnations. You are leaning forward looking at my lentil soup and salad with green sunflower seed dressing and your eyes are big and your hands are long and bony and your hair is thin and your cheekbones are still so beautiful not to mention your smile. You no longer have something growing inside of you except love. You say, “How are Jasmine and Sam?” and I tell you about Jasmine’s play and Sam’s baseball tryouts and how they are in love with our new rescue dog. “Elphi!” you say what a perfect name. He’s sounds adorable. Elphi! Will it be too much work for you, though?” I reassure you that it is worth it because it makes the children so happy especially Jasmine who needs that much love and comfort 24 hours a day. You ask about work and I tell you about the secret project and the epic and the book I finished in your doorway the night you died, the book that still hasn’t found a publisher. “Oh it will!” you say. “I just know it!” I tell you about my classes and the party we had and I worry aloud about money though you think I shouldn’t and we talk about Gregg’s beautiful singing and how much we missed you at his last show. I avoid talking about the secrets I found among your journals and letters because I have already processed this and who knows how much time we have left? You ask about the man and I say I really like him and that he is smart and kind and gifted and deep and unusual and things about him remind me of my father. You try not to get too excited but we are both excited, it is in our natures. When I finish my lunch, which you are very interested in and continue to eye hungrily, I ask, “Why don’t I miss you more?” and you look at me with your glowing green eyes and say, “Remember the night I flew away? When you held my hand and you saw my spirit leave my body? Where do you think it went, my darling?” and then I feel this strange solid peace deep in my chest, not the emptiness or the longing but the feeling of being fully a woman, fully a mother, fully alive and I know the answer.


  1. this gave me shivers. it is unbelievably beautiful and wise. you are not only an inspiring writer but also an inspiring person, from what I gather through this screen.
    thank you, as always, for sharing

  2. I wish my mother and I shared just a fraction of what you and yours did.
    So beautiful.

  3. I am so glad for you, that you were to be able to have that moment with your mother.

    ***When you held my hand and you saw my spirit leave my body? Where do you think it went, my darling?” and then I feel this strange solid peace deep in my chest***

    That took my breath away.

  4. I read your poems every day. They fill me up. They are beautiful beautiful Joanna