Your Slippers

Remembering my mom who always had impeccable timing – and breathed her last on my Birthday. The poem was written a few days after her death in 2006 – you may remember some lines from a song that came from this.

I used to bring you wildflowers from the canyon

Black-eyed Susan’s, Grass Widows,

and Buttercups

which barely survived the trip up the long dirt road to you

You would gather them and place them in a Kerr jar

for everyone to admire –

until every petal had shriveled and fallen

laying in pollen dust on the oak table

No matter that your eyes swelled up and your nose ran…

In those days you were omnipresent –

filling up every corner of my young world with Little Orphan Annie and

the “Boomdeeada” song, lemon Jell-O cake and

25cent foot rubs

I guess no one is ready for the giants in their lives to die –

even when their suffering is as large as their living

You kept it mostly a secret.

We the conspirators didn’t even really know what you carried

When I was 22 I called you two nights running and you weren’t ‘yourself’

“You have always been too sensitive about these things,” you said hiding

I was the sensitive one, I guess it is true – because I knew.

I would go to my room,

open up my praying window, and dissolve into musical tones

to block the cacophony that seemed to unsettle                                                                                      even the wind

Still I carried you – and the family – wrapped up in gold linen

Until I could no longer do so

But now, thank God, the secrets that you guarded like jewels are shining.  If you had shared them, you might have realized they weren’t nearly worth the hiding

So here I stand – going the way of every orphaned daughter

I held your blue robe

I wept by your body

I admired your beauty even in death

I could not gather you in my arms or even honor you with wildflowers

In time

we will fling your ashes back into your past, allow the wondering to give way to grace,  and let go of all that will never be

For now, though, I will leave your slippers by the table.

March 22, 2006

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