For Mama

I didn’t post yesterday for Mother’s Day. The reasons for this were numerous. For one, I was extremely busy. For another, I was torn between being happy my kids were all home and spending time with me and sad that for the first time in my life, I didn’t have a mother to call.

I used to write poetry for my mother. When I was a little girl, she was, in my eyes, the most beautiful woman in the world. She later became my best friend, my sounding board for life decisions. When I was in college, “long distance” fees on phone calls were still a thing, so we limited ourselves to one call a week to catch up. It became a tradition that lasted well into my married life when the children were small and past the point where “long distance” wasn’t a problem anymore. I continued to make those calls even when she began refusing to speak on the phone, always hoping to hear her voice, just for a moment.

I found a voicemail on my phone. It’s about three years old from the time before she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I’ve listened to it once and saved it on my phone and sent it to my brothers. That voicemail is precious to me even though I can’t bear to listen to it. The guilt is real, still. What was I doing that I couldn’t answer the phone? Did I call her back?

Didn’t I realize I wouldn’t have her forever?

And because this is my first Mother’s Day without my mother, yesterday was, I guess, a sort of poet’s moment of silence. But now I want to share. Here’s my beautiful Mama, probably taken on a past Mother’s Day.

Poem 30 (whew!) (National Poetry Month): Through the Window

Well, this is it for National Poetry Month 2020. I had hoped my bookstore would be full of poetry all month long. And in a way, it has been. I’ve certainly written a lot of it. And read some (including by NC Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Greene—and you should too!). And a wonderful friend brought me several new poetry books to read. It’s been…not quite what I wanted (poetry readings and fun times with fellow poets), but I’ve celebrated my love of poetry the best I could in the confines of coronavirus quarantine.

And with that, I leave you with this. Stay well, my friends. And keep reading poetry, and writing it if the spirit moves you. Remember: “To be a poet is a condition, not a profession.” Or so said Robert Frost.

(Note: This is for all the parents and grandparents whose visits from family have been put off because of COVID-19.)

Through the Window

By Michelle Garren Flye

Through the window, I see the squirrels play

I hear the birds singing about the new day—

And you say you’ll be coming to see me

When the world makes travel for you easy.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

Looking out the window doesn’t tell me a thing.

The traffic flows past, and I sit alone.

And your voice sounds weak on the phone.

Watching does no good, I know.

Nothing I do makes time slow.

The world continues to spin on its way

Even if I sit here watching all day.

Photo by Michelle Garren Flye