Mama Land by LYN LIFSHIN
Mother's Birthday
Better to Just Let it Go
POETRYREPAIRS v 11.02: 018
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Mother's Birthday

the last birthday, the
words we couldn't say,
her "this new hair cut
is killing me" or "death
by chocolate" in a 
crowded care. Soaps 
or lotions, what can 
you give the dying but 
cards. maybe some
flowers. "Couldn't
you save some for an
other year?" At least 
I didn't fall apart 
in front of her, as if
I'd known what I was
saying good-by to


If this wasn't May, it
would be a day to be
hypnotized by snow 
or water. Removed,
not here. I forget the
word equine therapists
use for it. I could go
for a long night, Mama,
imagining your first
day. I drove through
Mineville trying to 
find the room you 
remembered a black 
egg in. Dark in spite
of birds you said were
a sign of death but
wanted to be as free as.
That last day I was
hypnotized that it was
not happening, my
kitchen filled with 
people and casseroles 
as if it already had


not like a field
burned to nothing or
a hillside volcanic
ash buries, wraps

in black fire and
cascaded down
mountains. Think-
ing of your first 
day in the basket 
of blood isn't like
where green pushes
up, it doesn't take
that long before
green starts to
come back again. 
Imagining you in
the house of beads 
on Elm, or the
screened porch 
near red spirea and
poppies on North
Pleasant isn't the 
same as ferns
bleeding thru ash 
and hard black news 
that doesn't care 
what goes on with
out what was


My mother's birthday.
So can you tell me how 
to celebrate not her
not her birth but

her last day,
the grey day 
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Mother's Birthday Better to Just Let it Go navigation  
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Better to Just Let it Go
there's too little time, the cat still leaping for flies. Alright, lets not think of cats tho it can be certain you can find one if you had one. Or even lets say your small dog, or retired grey hound, there where you take a photograph or take out charcoals, know this could be the last time, could be a memento (which was the name of my 32 year old cat I held in her last hours, eve photographed) but you don't care about that and she's in an envelope along with my mother, skeletal after years of wishing she could eat as much chocolate as she wanted, not get fat. What I mean is there is too little to hunt what's lost. I saw it, the delicate script with love, Clara and nobody knew. No relative left knew who Clara was. Better if I had dis- covered her lonely in a home, or in her own world. I would know. "Who is Clara" over and over on an 18 k ring in my mother's closet. Thick gold, what you'd give a man. Not only who, but why in my mother's closet? "Love, Clara" in thin etched scroll, delicate as the ring wasn't: Clara, Claire, a ghost. Never real, no will, no daughter, no cat. Clara, clear air. Not there, unreal, ghostly, gone as now even the ring is
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