Poem for Motherless Mothers

Sometimes when I lie in my bed and close my eyes to take a quick recharging nap

my children quietly (finally) themselves, napping

I can see my mom’s face

her freckled olive skin

as if it were inches from mine...

 

and I remember what she looked like when she was alive,

and I remember what she looked like when she was dying, that in between alive and not alive look that your skin gets,

and I remember what she looked like dead.

She was beautiful (although she probably wouldn’t have thought so), in every stage from here to gone,

from present to illusory,

from breath, to mist, to cold, to ash.

 

I can feel the soft skin of her neck as I nuzzle in to breathe deeply her smell.

I can remember her smell,

as if she were lying next to me

right this very minute.

My beautiful mama, who I hugged and snuggled not nearly enough;

Who I appreciated so much less than I should have,

and who loved me no matter how ungrateful and naively unaware I was

of her gift

of motherhood

and unconditional love.