Fall Poetry

fall tree

I’m glad it’s finally getting cool down here in North Carolina, although I do miss the fall colors up north. (My Dad took this picture of the maples in his front yard in Ohio.) The changing seasons have been bringing back memories of previous Octobers and inspired me to write this poem. My Mom died 20 months ago today, and it’s feeling good to honor her by recalling sweet memories – as well as some difficult ones.

Day of The Dead

Morning in October
My hand curled around a swirled soy latte mug

My mom did everything with her hands
Sometimes she cut apple slices for us
Knife slipping toward her thumb
Cutting out the core.

A year ago in October
I was knocking doors in Rice Lake.
I told the team about my grief at the colorful Mexican restaurant.
At the coffee shop Leigh joked about Natasha’s spirituality
And I had PMS to beat the band.

Two years ago in October
Mom visited me for the last time:
Crisp radiant sky, throngs on the national mall
For the MLK memorial.
After the dedication she
Took me shopping and bought me
A gray striped shirt and brown boots.

Two decades ago in October
We decorated the house
With Kleenex ghosts and lumpy gourds.
I wore nothing but black
And the extra legs she made me
And I was a spider.
We went trick-or-treating together.
She taught me about Dia de los muertos
But neither of us yet could grasp
The ancient need to honor departed souls.

I wore that gray striped shirt
the night I came back
To the hospital
And stayed up with her all night.
She didn’t speak after her eyes fluttered open
At 11, to say I love you
At 3 the nurse came to say
Her kidneys had shut down.

For the next twelve months
I wore nothing but black
And every day was a day of the dead.

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2 thoughts on “Fall Poetry

  1. Susan Herbert says:

    Words feel so inadequate when responding to the poet whose words are so powerfully arranged. May your days in NC help you on your journey. With much love, Sue Herbert

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