Elegy for My Mother

by Frannie Lindsay

ButI still have my river-mother
and all of her glittering fish,

my sycamore-mother who never is cold,

my star-white mother whose eyes
need no closing,

whose wind-stripped hands need not crochet,

whose dove-plain dress does not rip
on the drag of the gutter's wind,

whose kicked-off galoshes never lined up
with all the black pumps of the mothers
of Hillcrest Road,

my mother whose fiddle has two
Curved hurts for its f-holes,

magnolia-mother shedding her petals of snow,
tearless November mother refusing soup,

leaving her wig on the steps
for the grackles to nest in,

my broad-boned mother, my corduroy
notre dame of worn knees,

mother of sidestroke stillness
and loose knots,

my mother who blurs from the effort
of being remembered,

O homely, deliberate icon of lamps left on,

and I have set out a dish for her fingerbeams

Last updated February 24, 2023