Op/Ed Poetry

Poetry: Make myself remember

(Mother’s Day 2024)

I have to make myself remember

The skillful fingers that used to push

A needle through calico layers

Making the tiniest stitches

Intricate, patient designs

Around the square of a quilt

In her lap

I have to make myself remember

The beautiful mouth that used to laugh

With auburn head thrown back

Revealing her straight white teeth

Encircled by lips painted pink

From the gold tube of lipstick

In her purse

I have to make myself remember

The agile body that used to labor

All sweaty in garden sun

Looking for ripe cucumbers

Or weeding around marigolds

Then jumping into the pool

Clothes and all

I have to make myself remember

The practical mind that used to offer

Wisdom to my young heart

Before a troublesome school day

“Give it to God and leave it,”

While quickly braiding my hair

At the mirror

I have to make myself remember

The resolute will that used to persevere

Packing up dishes in boxes

Wrapping them gently in paper

The ripping sound of tape

Another move across country

A new home

I have to make myself remember

The clever artist that used to plan

A collage of pictures in frames

Laid out on the living room rug

Or an idea sketched on paper

For an elaborate cake

She would bake

I have to make myself remember

The handwriting that used to comfort

When I was away at school

Thirsty for something familiar

Pages of news and affection

Appearing like fresh water

In my mailbox

I have to make myself remember

The vibrant mother I used to know

Her fingers now fumble with pills

The body sleeps most of the day

And laughter now is scarce

Reality jumbled and twisted

In her head

And I wonder if she remembers

That this is not who she was

And in truth, it is not who she is

Hidden behind cloudy eyes

And the unrecognizing stare

But I will make myself

Remember

Suzanna Rood

Vergennes

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