Mostly, it is that sheís here.


After twenty-five years of adulthood,

Iíve got my mother here in my living room

for all eternity,

or at least for as much eternity as she has left.



Telling me again

how she left the Church

when the priest said they must all support Franco.



Telling me again

what she said to Dr. Cavins in 1955

when Ozell the cleaning lady got so very sick.


Here.Every day.

Reading aloud the news I have just finished,

Making jello.

Cooking sausage, because itís not dinner without meat.


Salting things.


Lifting her martini to my fatherís portrait:

ďOne for my baby!Ē

Grieving him,

with annotations on his faults.


Too deaf to hear me across the room,

Too vague to remember last nightís chapter.


Silently criticizing my ways,

With a sigh, or drawn-in breath, or pointed glance.

She never complains.


Some day, suddenly or not, she will be gone.

My gallant little mother,

Homeless but for my home.

Digging my garden because she lost her own.

Savoring every morsel of joy in life, and

Salting it.


When she is gone, my living room will be mine again,

And my eyes will have too much salt.



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© Jean M. Campbell 1997