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My Mother’s Birthday
RRG Rev. Rebecca Guile Hudson (January 31st / Hollywood, CA)

My Mother’s Birthday

My mother’s birthday
is on a Sunday this year –
She’ll be, let’s see, how old?
Oh, yeah! 75

But to me, she’s dead,
Even while alive

My mother’s birthday should mean
Nothing to me,
seeing as how,
As I said,
She’s dead

***
I wonder how
She’ll celebrate
This arrival at ¾’s of a century
And all

Will she be, as always,
On the phone,
A guru to those who
Don’t know
That this woman, my mother,
Is really quite mad?

Or will she
Take her old-woman bones
For a solitary stroll
Along the ocean’s edge?

Commune with the sea gulls
And breathe the salt air mists
Of waves?

And why does it matter to me?
After all, as I said,
To me, she’s dead

***
Will she say “hello”
To passers-by,
Engage them in private-life
Discussions,
Catching them by surprise
When the words tumble out?

(But she does not include me
in her intimate group of strangers –
hasn’t spoken to me
in years – her choice,
never quite comprehended...

but then again,
she’s, as I said, dead,
so her silence should hold
no power to surprise)

Will the dead rise up
And greet me, once,
Before she dies?

Or will she leave,
All words unspoken, all doors
To possibility shut down,
Locked tight, throw away
The key?

And why, dear Lord, why,
Oh, tell me why,
It still
Really matters
To me

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