Combining the NaPoWriMo.net prompt that suggested a poem that played with voice and the Poetic Asides prompt asking for a portrait poem. Today would have been my Mom’s 75th birthday, and I have been thinking a lot today about birthdays past, as well as the tendentious nature of memory.
I remember another birthday, Easter weekend too,
thirty degrees above zero and all of us sticky
in the K-Car on the long drive to Auntie Deb’s.
I remember your face, Mom. Soft.
Young, though I didn’t recognize it then.
You hummed when Tom Jones came on the radio.
I remember the conversation between you
and Dad, farm kids gone city, speculating
on the state of the fields, the summer ahead.
I remember you holding a bouquet of pink tulips.
We asked Dad to buy them from all of us.
Afterthought gift from the gas station.
If you could feel the heat then, daughter
from the sun and family, too close.
Even affection can be stifling sometimes.
If you could paint my portrait
there’d be lies in the brushstrokes.
Smoothed over wrinkles and anger.
If you could hear only what was said
and not what was meant, I wouldn’t
blame you. Your optimistic child’s ear.
If you could see my fingers rubbing
the plush flower petals. Not meaning to
wear a hole in something I loved so much.
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