Friday, January 20, 2006

MY MAMA

Tough to follow Stephen Dunn and Dobyns . . .

In the Details
J.B. Rowell

I try to remember
how every detail of me
is being imprinted on them,
like hers on me:
Juicy Fruit breath,
Tic Tac rattle
from the heft of her purse,
you could reach in
and bring up
a fistful of coins every time.

Napping diagonally,
folded in the duvet like a taco,
the magical properties
of Oil of Olay in a glass bottle.
I thought Cold Cream was named
for its temperature: Is it?

I was honored to dust with her
or do the pans or dress
in a taffeta apron to serve
appetizers at her parties,
or better yet, plant red
geraniums by her side.

Everything she did seemed so
purposeful, from her choice
of luncheon spots
in a day of shopping,
to the sting of her quiet
judgment of my choices.

I felt the magnitude of her
presence in the car,
over the stove
as I sat at the table,
at the edge of my bed.
I hear the importance
of her phone voice,
the clicking and echo
of her steps down the hall
before a night out.

I remember most the moment
the skin on the back of her hands
began to look like Grandma’s,
papery and crinkled thin.
When I was struck dumb
by death, hers and mine.

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