Listen to Mom

It’s been foggy all day today, both outside and in my brain, and I have been bingeing on sci-fi and western movies (often combining the two) instead of getting my work done. So, yes, a typical Monday.  My poor writing partner has been trying to whip me into action, but it’s kinda hard with three cats and a dog all curled up next to me, snoring away. Luckily caffeine is still a legal substance.

Although I might be feeling kinda sluggish, I do have some exciting news. My poem “Mother’s Peace” was published in Survivor’s Review, which seeks “to publish stories, essays, and poems that are powerful, poignant, and unflinchingly honest.” Although I don’t write many poems (eek! poetry!!), some stories just demand to be written in poem form. When that happens, who am I to argue?

I originally wrote “Mother’s Peace” last century (okay, that made me feel old, but it was still kinda fun to write), when I was living in an out-of-place apartment building located at the intersection of two business highways in a large Southern city. I remember it was a weekday afternoon in the spring and I was supposed to be completing multiple projects so I could head home for a few weeks to see my mother, whose cancer had returned. Instead I was sitting there, staring at my computer (and, truth be told, freaking out more than a little at how I was going to get everything done).

In that moment, just before I became so overwhelmed that I knew paralysis would set in, the trucks along the highway suddenly stopped, the apartment complex went silent, the world went perfectly still, and I felt a powerful urge to scarf down some orange sherbet (my mom’s remedy for sick days when I was a kid). In those few seconds, the entire poem unfolded in my mind, and as the world came back to life, I scribbled the lines down on a piece of junk mail.

I somehow managed to get all my projects done on time and spent six weeks back home that summer, for which I am grateful as my mother passed away the following year. This poem has always stuck with me as a connection with my mother. She was the one who wrote poetry, not me. Unfortunately, she never got to read this poem, but I like to think that she played a role in its being accepted for publication as I received the acceptance letter just a few days before her birthday last month.

And you know what my mother is saying now? “Stop making excuses and get back to writing.”

Yes, Mom.

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