A MOTHER’S DAY THING

 

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I did some work for a friend in Crown Heights today, and riding the bus back from St. Marks Avenue I saw an interesting thing. Somewhere right before Fulton Street a very pretty late-middle aged woman got on the bus. She was African-American, and well dressed in slacks and a light sweater. Her steel grey hair was done in a tasteful bob. As she inserted her Metro card into the card reader she announced to the passengers:

            “Happy mother’s day, ladies.” Some of the African-American women nodded in response, a few said, “same to you.” I smiled at this wonderful display of community. I doubt any white woman or Latino woman would have done the same. It was a nice moment I’ll never forget.

I wrote a poem for my mom a few years ago, on a mother’s day, of course, but I’ve only showed it to Danusia, since she is included in the poem and she never has anything bad to say about my writing. I’m not much of a poet, but I have to say this one is heartfelt, and none too shabby.

I was going to post it on this blog last month, in honor of national poetry month, but Danusia said I should save it for mother’s day, so here it is:

 

A Prayer For Maria Remedios

 

I’d run

From here to Mexico

If I thought that I could

Speak to you once more,

Or at least see you

In repose,

Like the last time I saw you,

So many years ago.

Today we lit two candles,

She and I,

One for you,

One for her Mamushka,

Also gone many years.

We sat in the morning sun,

In our parlor,

And read from the Daily word-

About no expiration dates,

And such for mothers,

Which is true-

As all you ever taught me

Remains in place

To this day.

 

I can not recall you

Telling me you loved me,

Things like that just weren’t said-

In our home.

But I felt you did,

More than the others,

I suspect.

 

I see the old man sometimes,

I called him Viejo,

For some time,

But I’ve returned to Papa.

Frail and old,

In his small world of bitter resignation.

Though he never speaks of you,

I can tell you this-

He seemed lost without you, and visited

Your grave every chance he could,

Something I’ve never done.

It has taken me thirty-one years

To ask my brother where

You are buried,

Perhaps I will go this summer.

 

Mama,

I have not cried,

The way I cried,

The day they put you

In the ground,

And I’ve cried plenty since.

It’s taken that long to

Acknowledge that you are gone,

That you will never hear my sullen,

Petulant voice again.

 

I learned a great many things from you, Mama,

Some good, some bad,

But the best thing you taught me

Is kindness,

And I am be happy to tell you

That you passed it on

To your  Grandson, my boy,

Who is kind too.

 

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My Mother was a nun for the first part of her adult life, and here is a picture to prove it.

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This is one of the last pictures of my mom; she died in 1977 at the age of 53. My sister is on the left and my first girlfriend Anna is on the right. Happy mother’s day, ladies.

About xaviertrevino

I like to write, take things apart and put them back together, turtles, and my lovely wife Danusia.
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7 Responses to A MOTHER’S DAY THING

  1. Julie says:

    Beautiful Xavier. My eyes are welled up and my throat too. My mother lived a long life but it still feels like she died too soon.
    Write more poems.
    Julie

  2. Julie says:

    is that you and her in the first picture. Gorgeous !

  3. Julie says:

    Just wrote a poem that your poem inspired. Thank YOU for that
    here it is:
    Mother’s Day, 2014

    My Mother’s Bedspread
    Julie Cahn

    Today I unfolded the bedspread you had on your bed in Amagansett
    And put it on my bed
    I carefully spread it out, ironing out the wrinkles with my hands,
    Turning the hospital corners like you taught me
    And like I always do
    As if that is the only way to do it,

    There is no smell of you
    Left in it
    I sniff twice and hard
    For it

    I remember an argument we had once,
    Almost 30 years ago,
    You insisted I cover my mattress,
    For the paint job
    and I insisted
    That there must be another way,
    Not always your way

    How many years did it take me to realize you were right
    About most things,
    Or that you knew me like no one else did,
    Even the things we never talked about
    I know you understood

    Even when your mind in later years
    Was warped and twisted by
    A merciless illness,
    You still knew

    Only if I could have,
    In right mind,
    Opened my heart to you
    With the confidence that you would
    Have stroked it,
    Without judgment,
    Without suggestions,
    Without sadness
    For what you knew you could not change
    But wish you could

    Now I take comfort under your bedspread
    Remembering how you
    Lay under it
    Once too.

  4. lindabee says:

    It’s just beautiful, Xavier. And yours is, too, Julie!

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