Monday February 23, 2015
When I look at her, I see all the birthday cards and the Valentine’s books, stuck with stickers and written in blue ball point pen. When I see her move, slow, deliberate, I am overcome with sadness. “This isn’t how it was meant to be!” I say, quiet, under my breath. Who am I to know?
Pain has been described as a gift. Seventeen years of ache, of muscle tightening and bone rubbing. Seventeen years of patience and faith. Seventeen years of the break, the tears, the stomping feet on the ground, if only the strength was there.
Here it is. The moment we’ve all been waiting for. Wings spread, she flies.
Friday November 29, 2013
This year, Celeste isn’t making the pies. My brother, Earl, and I had talked in hushed voices at her birthday in late September. “Should we offer?” We wondered. “Should we ask?” Earl had decided that if you didn’t want to make them then she could tell us so, that we shouldn’t undermine her matriarchal act but simply usurping the duty. I got a phone call late last night, proceeded by a text. “Are you up?” Asked Celeste. I texted back a moon. Celeste had married our father when we were in our late teens. She had re-ignited our father’s love of brewing beer, of collage, and of family brunches the final Sunday of each month, rotating the host so that the work was spread around evenly. Celeste had arthritis that made her sixty six year old body appear much older. She’d had to leave her job at the Newspaper. She’d had to hire a cleaning lady. Celeste called right away, upon receiving the moon. “Honey,” she said, “I don’t think I’m up to the pies…” I smiled. “We were waiting for the word! Earl and I are happy to do it…” There was an anchor in the silence, weighing us, holding us. “But,” said Celeste, “I’d love to be there when you make them?” I could hear Earl chuckling about back-seat cooking. “Of course,” I said.
Wednesday October 16, 2013
I lie awake and I wonder about my mother’s hips,
What lives in there – shame beside cartilage, fear inside bone.
She wakes in pain, she tenses, she breathes, she prays, she remembers the freedom of youth.
Arthritis is a leech that sucks mobility like blood, that spreads to knuckles and toes.
I suppose I should say, what lived in there, in my mother’s hips…
She has new ones now – polished machinery, scars carving beautiful capital “C’s” into her upper thighs.
I was born of that body.
I watched that body.
I called that body “home” and “beautiful”.
I see that body now, sixty-three years on this earth,
and I see what the devotion writes on her freckled shoulders,
what the judgement writes on her sun-spot chest,
what this mother to us daughters teaches and knows,
and teaches and forgets.