Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Days of Mothers

Silohuette of Gloria Merriam, one of my mom's childhood friends, California January 2015
(a spontaneous poem on Mother's Day 2015)

My days of mothers cut short.
Turned by the sun into tinier versions of ones
given to most,
my mothers died at my sixth
my thirteenth
my nineteenth years.

A daughter with no mothers
many others stepped forward
or I called forward.
One confessed she didn't feel worthy:
not a good enough mother already
to the two children she bore.
My boyfriend (a bore)
said I'd done wrong by her
put her in an impossible position.

I know by now as an author
as a teacher
a mentor
that he was right in one way:
being a mother
giving birth
or raising to live on this earth
any creation
is impossible.

And yet, here we are.

My days of mothers seemed short -
cut off by early death.
And yet
I hear my neighbors on both sides
celebrate their firsts
with wailing children at their chests,
I get and give all the love I need
from families I married into
or create myself.
And yet
the Tibetan Buddhists
who make up my family say
Everyone was once my mother:
every insect
every cat
every serial killer.

Even myself.
I was once
I still am
Mother to myself.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Not Taking it Personally

One of the interesting parts of being on Facebook and having over 1000 contacts is noticing trends. Not the kinds of trends Facebook tracks - who's talking about Miley Cyrus this hour, for instance - but the kinds my subconsciousness tracks.

Often they are things that likely happen all the time but the level of critical consciousness doesn't raise until I know what something is. For instance, I never knew there was a part of the body called the meniscus until a close friend tore hers, then, all of a sudden, a few friends were having surgery on theirs. Is that coincidence? Not likely, nor even a trend. But perhaps I just didn't notice it before because people weren't using that word (most just say "knee problems") or I didn't recognize it and so it didn't register for me.

But here's a word I know well, linguistically and personally: