My Mother's Letters

by Geoff Page

Geoff Page

I have my mother's letters
in a Woolworth's plastic bag,
three or four, to be precise,

five decades worth of admonitions,
her longhand all around the type
with, now and then, some Pitman script

learned when she was twenty.
I don't destroy them ... or re-read them.
Their arguments go round and round,

the tone so much now then, my boy,
and don't you kid yourself
they float like gunsmoke in a cupboard

down there where I keep my shoes.
Genes and history, politicians,
the harshness of a mother's maxims,

they swirl there like the upper boughs
of two tall family trees.
To quote from them verbatim

would be indelicate.
Some evening I, inevitably,
or someone else, my son perhaps,

will toss them in a bin on wheels
or quietly light a match.
That day, I hope, is some years out.

Silently in bags meanwhile
her fifty years' advice and love
are patient in their plastic.

Last updated February 21, 2023