Two months ago, my mother drew her last, labored breath. I woke up this morning from a brutal, punishing dream with a brutal, punishing headache that hasn’t let up.
And yet, I am writing: scribbling in my journal, typing on my laptop. Writing poems, or bits of them — a dangerous pastime, given that I really don’t know how to write poetry. Everything I’ve written today is about loss, and grief, and fear — mostly fear of loss and grief.
I also fear failure. But in a fit of recklessness — or, let’s call it, freeing myself from perfectionism — I’ve decided to post this one.
What We Wanted
An alma mater sweatshirt,
ash and rust, scarcely worn:
Dad made his own warmth.
After he died
I took a year to claim it, gingerly,
from the closet of leftovers
it hugged me through four long, bitter
New England winters. Then:
an elbow hole. This spring the hole
blossomed and grew,
leaving more hole
Sorely worn. But still I wear it.
Now Mom’s closets are empty.
We took what we wanted,
gave away the rest.
A painting, some muu muus.
A raveled sleeve.
Who will redeem this hole?
What is the Mary Oliver Challenge? Glad you asked! You can read about it here.