My Mother Read Szymborska
after Light, by Alexander Zyw (Poland) 1957
My mother read Szymborska
for Great Books, turned to me
the poet, not because she couldn’t
comprehend the words
she who taught me to read
and not because one thing stood
she simply wanted to borrow the book
with its grains of sand
for an assignment.
She had her own window
with its own view of a walkway
and on the other side, a roof with wild turkeys
congregating, and she’d point and laugh
at their uneven landings
as she stood in the closed porch
hands on hips,
her hair newly shorn, bangs a bit short,
her brown eyes in the afternoon
finding the tall tree beyond
as it showered itself onto the driveways and carports.
She knew from the works of literature
what details meant
from Ovid to Ray Bradbury
she who inhaled languages for opera thirst,
yet to our surprise, she pronounced words differently
like gulf instead of golf.
She would hitchhike through one tome
in a night, her appetite uninformed
and servanted as if I needed proof
of the well laden bookcase in our house
Danish modern covering a wall with built-in desk
and record album sections.
She was like a grain of sand herself
yet took almost 88 years
to become and pass.
And even now
she still falls
grain by grain
even six years after her departure
falls on my shoulders.
Laurel Benjamin has poetry forthcoming in Lily Poetry Review, Black Fox, Limit Experience, Word Poppy Press. Find her work in Turning a Train of Thought Upside Down: An Anthology of Women's Poetry, South Florida Poetry Journal, Trouvaille Review, The Ekphrastic Review (challenge finalist), California Quarterly, Midway Journal, MacQueens Quinterly, Wild Roof Journal, Tiny Seed, and more. She is an Oregon Poetry Association honourable mention, and is a Sunspot long lister. Affiliated with the Bay Area Women’s Poetry Salon and the Port Townsend Writers, she holds an MFA from Mills College and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Twitter handle: @lbencleo More at https://thebadgerpress.blogspot.com
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