Art by Jade Pilgrom | Website | Etsy Shop | Tumblr | Instagram
All I Want1
The sky doesn’t care that my Mom is suffering,
though right now outside the window
the clouds, mostly blue, float in a sea of other blues
and a whitish-pink hue – as if it did.
Her life sighs within me. Even now,
thinking about these things, her presence tugs familiarly
somewhere inside my chest: old friend, old guide.
But how to reconcile this with the who-cares wind?
The night hasn’t even fallen yet,
on a late December afternoon
that seemed interminable.
The light doesn’t hold still,
and my Mom speaks in a whisper.
I navigate the space between caring and numbness.
It’s like a waterfall of grief
rushing down my mind,
while another part of me is standing
in some shadowy niche, watching it well down,
thinking something about how
I am her and my father
down to my very thoughts,
as if my parents were writing this poem,
surging through my fingers.
When I was a child, my Mom made the days pass
like fields of grain
glimpsed through the window of our passing car.
My brothers and I sat and squirmed.
My Dad drove us somewhere –
Tennessee, Northern Michigan – in the summer.
We played games
like Geography, I-spy, G-H-O-S-T.
I picture her
turning towards me
from the front seat:
just that motion,
The smile is the important thing;
this isn’t intended to be a dirge.
Therefore, now, in this poem,
let me taste the sweet meaning
of my mother’s honey cake
as if I was holding a fresh piece in my hand,
as if through some glitch in memory
I might enter the kitchen again
of the house where I grew up.
I slide the wooden door open two inches,
and stand there as my mother cracks eggs and pours vanilla.
She is making honey cake for Rosh Hashanah.
She doesn’t see me at first,
but when she does, she grins, invites me in,
helps me to a taste of the batter.
I’m too young to know then
that I only get one mother.
But what matters is her standing there,
irreplaceably herself, and I’m lucky enough
to be beside her. That’s all I want.