Friday, May 6, 2011
POEMS FOR MOMMY
When my mother died, writing helped me cope. I didn't know that our last time together would be so, but I'll never forget it. I miss her.
I read and hear such horrible sentiments that people so brazenly make about their mothers. I don't know what their relationships are like; don't know what they've suffered. It's hard to tell people not to feel the way they do. All I know is that I'd give anything to be able to talk to my Mom, and not drive to Fort Lincoln cemetery.
I wrote this poem not long after she died. Somewhere there's an old home movie of her sitting on the steps of my grandmother's house. In it, I'm playing in her hair and she's trying to get me to stop. I wish I knew where it was...: )
She said I'd always wait until she was about to leave
I'd wait until she had every strand in place
I'd wait until our ride was pulling into the yard
Then I'd play in her hair
I'd fluff it
I'd muss it
She said I was "playing"
I thought I knew what I was doing!
She wasn't Mommy
She was my client
Just like all the white Barbies
Whose hair never stayed like it was when they were new
I'd cut it, curl it, wet it, tease it, and braid it
Even tried to straighten it on a light bulb
(Not Mommy's hair, silly- Barbie's)
Barbie's hair didn't take well to heat like Mommy's
Mommy knew how to heat that comb just right
Protect her cotton curls with thick grease
It would fall straight and shiny onto her shoulders
Then she'd find the pins and curl it up for Sunday
Even when the medicines wracked her body
And turned her skin from caramel to gray
Her hair remained strong
She managed to sit up that day
She seemed happier
"Before you leave, I want you to brush my hair"
I laughed and said, "Okay. So you want me to "play" in your hair?"
We both laughed.
I cut the old nylon stockings into pieces, and covered the bristles
One piece after another
On and off of the brush
Tossing them into the wastebasket until
Her hair was clean
Auntee Lillian said it was a good way to get out the dirt
Auntee Lillian was right
Mommy couldn't wash her hair.
She wanted to wash her hair.
I brushed and brushed
Just like I'd done so many years ago
It glistened and shocked my fingers
No heat this time
Just static and timing
Strands like threads of silk danced in the air
I gave her one French braid.
"That feels good, child"
I brushed it as if it was my last time.