Author's Note: May is the month of Mother’s Day, a day that is often more difficult than joyful. Here are two poems for my mother. I miss her every day.
Mother rinsed dishes in a mix of hot water and bleach and with the same noxious brew, swabbed door knobs and faucets. Not even latches on gates escaped her everyday war on disease. That was before we knew what plague lay in wait to smite us and lock us in place. Wherever you are, beyond the urn in my closet, Mother, hear me concede: you were right when you told me a girl must be careful, and there’s no such thing as too clean.
Originally published in Red Shift
Avocado, she wanted, giving way at the end, end yet un-dreamt at the bend of mid-winter. Avocado, she wanted that odd creamy fruit, fruit unheard of by girls from rhubarb and peaches in small-town Oklahoma. That far-away summer when she’d failed to stop weeping you’ll stop weeping, said the doctor from big-town Oklahoma with a thousand miles between you and your mama. She drove west on 66 until its end at the ocean, ocean where her new world unfurled under trees bearing fruit, fruit like a fist or a mottled green womb. One taste, avocado, was just what she wanted. Good Lord, she knew she was home.
Originally published in Gravity: New & Selected Poems
©2021 Donna Hilbert
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