Ensconced in a wheelchair, my mother holds up her feet and wiggles them, showing off new pale beige moccasins, fur-lined, soft and roomy for her swollen feet. “My sister got them for me,” she tells a nursing home attendant, gleeful. But really it was me, her daughter, become unimaginably old.
I have always
gone my own way.
I’ve often been told,
“You are so much
like your mother.”
What would I
if she had lived?
Would I be
My deepest loss
is that I’ll never
know for certain.
Casey Laine looks and sounds so much like her mother that a stranger once approached her at a restaurant and asked if she were Lesa’s daughter. She is both Lesa’s daughter, and perhaps, in a way, part of Lesa’s legacy, having inherited not only her looks, mannerisms, and inflection, but also her interest in books, houseplants, and philosophical reflection. This poem is dedicated to her memory, with utmost love.
“You are your Momma’s sweetest girl,” Janeen cooed as she changed her baby’s diaper and pulled a soft yellow onesie over the child’s shoulders.
“It’s time for your lunch, Momma,” Nancy said, helping Janeen to her feet and gently placing her gnarled hands on the walker.
“Don’t forget your babydoll.”
Traci Mullins has more than three decades of experience in coaching, editing, and collaborating on hundreds of non-fiction books. She is currently working on unearthing the girl who used to love stories.
With ketchup trickling from her broad grin, his daughter looks like a cheerful, diminutive vampire.
The food is too fast, the street is too crowded, the fireworks are too loud. She is loving every single minute, and her mother will be furious.
Both of these things give him deep satisfaction.
Tamsin wishes she wasn’t too cowardly for fireworks and broad grins.
Her tiny fingers, entwined in mine. Soft. Delicate.
Her nod, a whisper, “It’s time.”
A click as the switch is turned off. Then…?
Darkness. No light, no tunnel, no welcome home.
Terror envelops me; tears begin to fall.
Just a fading whisper: “They never would have believed you, anyway, Mommy.”
Anita Reynolds is a writer and artist, wife and mom in the rural reaches of Tennessee. Her work is inspired by the strangeness of life, from the mundane to the magical.
A gentle breeze made its way through the cemetery trees,
and her hair.
She stood shocked among the sea of people, watching her mother descend
into the ground.
Disease or not, this reality hadn’t set in.
That’s when she realized: secretly, every daughter hopes their mother has to bury them.
James P. Spitznogle is an aspiring writer from the green hills of West Virginia.
“Don’t stand too close to the counter, or a spider might come bite your toe,” she tells me as I get ready to wash the dishes.
“Are you serious?”
She stops and gets that real hard thinking look in her eyes.
“Nah. If you wear sneakers you should be fine.”
Valarie Bradshaw is a nomadic mother who just graduated from college and spends her days in her pajamas writing all the stories that swim in her head. Her family is very patient.
She’s practiced all the maneuvers and feels ready for everything. “Tower, ready for takeoff.”
“Cleared for takeoff.”
The controller glances at another: “Think she’ll be next?”
Wheels roll, wings rise, the sky opens, and heaven and earth release their graces.
Astonished, her late mother surrounds her, smiling.
MJ is an aviator, author, and speaker on ways risk and fear can work to our advantage to dream and explore. She is preparing for suborbital space flight and researching ways to improve astronauts’ long-term space missions.
Do you want a girl this time? they all asked when the fourth grandchild was on the way.
It really doesn’t matter, and we know what to do with boys.
When she was born after a long labour, it was just relief.
But when we met, I was bowled over.
Ann Sangwin is a retired teacher, now a career grandmother. She has written all her life but until recently has not thought of submitting for publication. She lives in Kent, where she recently joined a writing group which has changed her life.
Today my father is teaching me math.
He takes me down to the beach and shows me a grain of sand.
After I’ve counted for a while, I notice my father’s shadow stretch and begin to disappear.
When are you coming back?
Look, he says, just keep counting.
Cathy Ulrich had to go to the beach once. It was terrible.