Tuesday, June 19, 2012

two years

I have been on international flights where we landed at the same time we left. Time hovered, waiting for us as we soared some 40,000 feet in the sky. Nothing moved forward.

Is this an analogy for grief? A fantasy world for the mourning? Dickens' broken clocks and cobwebbed wedding dress? Or some free pass - the golden ticket in the chocolate bar wrapper?

It's two years today since we lost mom.

This morning Isaac arrives in front of me in the kitchen and announces he's going on a "nature safari,"then points to the camera hooked to his belt loop. It was my mother's camera. It still has her name and address label inside, still her pictures on the memory card, including the shots of her garden she took a couple hours before the ambulance arrived, the last ones she would ever take in a lifetime of picture taking.

We gave Isaac the camera when he turned 6 years old so he'd have something of his grandmom. He used it on the cross country trip/move, a little afterwards, but I he hasn't touched it or mentioned it for months. Until this morning.

My Mother Never Said Goodbye

It used to drive me crazy.
Okay, talk to you soon.
And then, click. Or it was,
Love ya, dear. Then a rupture

of connection. I'd be left
holding the receiver
to silence. Bye, mom!
I'd sometimes call, eye-rolling
into the nothing. Bye! Goodbye!

Things didn't change at the end.
We were planning hospice; she
was resting comfortably. And then,
click. Just silence. Goodbye

was a formality she didn't see
the need for. Superfluous.
For me, a strange gap
where closure should be.

It's jarring not to hear goodbye
from the woman who taught you
manners, from the one who
pinned your name
to your plaid dress when you were five
and put you on the bus
for the first time.

Once, much later, she put me on a bus again.
I was 20-something, another adventure
I'd half-planned. She drove me
to the station, watched me buy my ticket,

and then stood on the curb, as I settled
into my seat, as the bus pulled back.
She was still watching me while the engine
efforted into drive, which is why she didn't

notice how close she was to the curb, why
she slipped off at an odd angle, breaking,
I'd later discover, her ankle, She continued
to smile and wave, not in goodbye,

but in a gesture that dismissed my concern,
in a you-go-on-I'm-fine kind of way.
And I went on. What else could I do?
The bus was in motion. It was as if

she'd planned it that way and I whispered
to the grimy window, Bye, mom! 


Susannah said...

Very moving Kitty. I feel the ache.

Rita said...

I've wanted to respond, and all I can think is: yes. Thank you for the poem. Yes.

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