Musings #37

Rewriting History

The past is unpredictable. ~ Lawrence Levine


We women tell each other

about our mothers – a way

to become known.

So I find myself

telling mother’s stories –

dancing, the second world war,

how she met my father,

all her lost children.

Stories of a heart broken

and broken again,

that chose, over and over,

to take the risk to love.


Stories which, when she told them

– often –

I did not want to hear.

Back when the story of us that I told

– born in her grief and utter fatigue –

was still a hurt and angry one,

one of need and cling,

push and pull.

Hard, even to call this up now.

From the perspective of age, her death,

a mother myself,

I clearly see the twist

in childhood’s lens.

This long view –

no trick of memory, no forgetting,

no putting a rosy spin on things.


As girls, we think we are

so different from our mothers,

never think we could grow up

to be so like them.

Yet here she is

reflected back to me.

Not just

the mouth lines, the curls –

her charm, so I’m told.

But the desire to hold close,

born of all her losses

– and my own.