Tag Archives: daughters

Sometimes when I look in the mirror I see my mother

[This is a pantoum. If it seems like lines keep repeating themselves, they’re supposed to in a pantoum!]

Sometimes when I look in the mirror I see my mother.
She is gone now, passed into another dimension.
I heard her voice once when I was gardening.
Her wind chimes send messages when I least expect them.

She is gone now, passed into another dimension.
I inherited her cheekbones and stubborn disposition.
Her wind chimes send messages when I least expect them.
I hear, “relax – don’t worry – all will be well.”

I inherited her cheekbones and stubborn disposition.
She was fiery and often showed it.
I hear, “relax – don’t worry – all will be well.”
I am grateful for all she taught me.

She was fiery and often showed it.
I like those reminders when a breeze is blowing.
I am grateful for all she taught me.
Our lives so different; I learned from her.

I like those reminders when a breeze is blowing.
I heard her voice once when I was gardening.
Our lives so different; I learned from her.
Sometimes when I look in the mirror I see my mother.

Phebe

written in December in the poetry class led by Mary Pierce Brosmer at Women Writing for (a) Change

a date with my dad & poem 95

I called him to see if he wanted to check out a dead tree situation. We spent most of last summer and early fall chopping fallen trees into smaller, more manageable pieces. Well, not actually chopping. He had a little electric chainsaw which we quickly wore out. Since my dad works for free (or an occasional dinner), I wrote him a check and told him to go wild at a hardware store. He returned next time with a $50 electric chainsaw that we are still using.

The tree was definitely dead. It sits by the road — and a telephone wire. No, we wouldn’t get electrocuted if the tree did go the wrong way. Yes, the phone company would be pissed and so would the driver of a car that could get hit, again, only on the off chance the tree didn’t fall in the field instead.

After sawing some lower tree limbs, I decided against it. We’d had a very close call last year with a tree in my back yard. The guy who ended up saving us said I was lucky it didn’t fall through my sliding glass door and hit me in the living room. I didn’t want to embarrass my dad by talking about it much. Suddenly, I didn’t feel so bold. Instead, I distracted him with trimming a hedge outside my front window. Wow, I get so much more light now! The job looks amateur, though, and — guess what? — it is. Those straggly branches will grow leaves again soon.

poem

my story had always been that relationships don’t last
for when you divorced my mother, I was only three,
still, here we are, many years later, relating.

lunch with my father & poem 54

Yesterday I called him: was he going to the cemetery on Memorial Day? No, he had already visited. His second wife had died a few years before. “Do you want to go to lunch?”

I met him at the Bob Evans near his house. This man, a mere twenty years older than I, is in many ways a mystery to me. We lost touch for literally decades — he and his wife moved around the country, following her children from Florida to Utah to Arizona. My sister Linda always knew where he was. Me, I didn’t care to bother if he didn’t. My feminism contained too much anger at his leaving my mother, alone with three young children.

He returned to Ohio when his wife got real sick; he had three Beiser children here to help take care of them. She died and he stayed close. He now lives down the street from Linda. Our main relationship consists of his helping me with practical house tasks like fixing the sliding doors when they get stuck and the garage door when it won’t close. Last summer we spent one afternoon each week sawing several trees that fell down during storms. My reward was a huge wood pile for my fireplace.

So when we met at Bob Evans, the greeter said “Hello, Norman.” I responded “Ah, on a first-name basis, huh?” Then he told me about his favorite waitresses and their shifts. He introduced the manager to me; she took a one minute break and sat down on his side of the booth. I know he keeps from being lonely by going out to eat. He has his own fan clubs at various restaurants in town.

So Mystery Man and I were alone. No task to focus on, no sister to keep the conversation going. The two of us talked about the food, then he began sharing what he knew of the Beiser family that month. He caught me up to date on the shelves he was building in Linda’s basement, how Steve was not communicating, and how the woman in the apartment across the hall keeps wooing him with food.

We obviously have some karma together. We resemble each other physically (except I’m not bald). He won’t succumb to my mentions of politics. We don’t have intellectual conversations. He doesn’t ask much but, then, I usually tell him what I’ve been doing. He shows his fatherhood in just being — listening, companionship, and craving service through his handyman jobs.

father

we’re obviously related;
it shows in many ways.
still, there are stories untold.

108 poems, this one is #8

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~~~~

all mothers are daughters
not all daughters become mothers
we share in our womanhood

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~~~~

Chanting up & down I-71

I spent a delightful day accompanying my friend Veena to Ohio State University. She was making a quick trip to deliver some items to her daughter who goes to school there. Seems daughter had left quite a few items at home over spring break and mom was going to deliver them.

This sweet mother also packed a lunch for all of us — homemade Indian food, of course! We played Krishna Das and Jai Uttal most of the drive, interspersed with chatting. I kept her company as she drove.

The visit with Radhika passed quickly; we were literally catching her between classes. Veena decided to make a stop at the outlet in Jeffersonville on the way home. I bought a set of dishes and mugs with a bamboo pattern. We both bought the same wildly patterned top for a deep discount. We shared a latte for the ride home.

I always enjoy being in Veena’s company. Besides being possibly the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen, Veena is a wonderful conversationalist. She is also a teacher to me, not only of Indian customs but also the wisdom of Siddha Yoga sadhana.

But what made this day most special was this: today would have been the 79th birthday of my mother. She died two years ago. I found a certain teaching in being a witness of this mother/daughter interaction today. How sweet and nurturing Veena is, how appreciative Radhika was of the visit to Columbus. They are both beautiful women on many levels. I felt fortunate to share in their intimacy.