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The Woman who Happened to be my Mother

Her upturned face, lips a dark purple,
hands open by her shoulders
as if she were asking a question.
She had said death would be an adventure
and even her wrinkles vanished in the rush upward.

I pulled back the covers and got in her bed —
her chest and belly still slightly warm, her skin
over her cheekbones cool — touched her lifted chin,
her left palm, her right, the cold tip of her curled pinky,
her pointing finger still pointed up,
each of her darkening nails;
touched her thick, brown hair
its one shock of white at the forehead
where she flew out.

Then I lay against her stillness.
There was nowhere else on earth
I could know nothing.

There is a soul that is the body,
that her body, over a lifetime, had become.

I placed my palm over her left eye
and pulled the lid down
till it was closed like the other,
but it opened again.

I caught the glimpse back:

she no longer belonged to me, this woman
who happened to be my mother.
I had no case against her,
there was nothing to forgive.                        Mermer Blakeslee


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