BellaOnline Literary Review
Korean Dogwood by Lisa Shea

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In Honor of My Mother

Terry Michelsen

In Honor of My Mother
Marcia Gail Jacobson Wiemuth Torgesen Turner

After all these years, I still remember the lilacs,
playing badminton over the clothesline,
picking up Sammy’s poop, cleaning the pool,
but I have been up since one trying to remember my mother’s laughter.

It was a sweet sound like birds calling to one another.
It was silent as a snowflake with a smile.
She rubbed my legs when I had growing pains.
She shared nothing about her own growing pains;

I lived through those pains, but I never understood them.
She was mild-mannered, not ferocious like me.
She was generous, not selfish like me.
She bore three children, not any like me.

I cannot even remember her voice.
It was mellow like a harp string.
It was gentle like a fawn.
It was hopeful like a rainbow.

I wish I could remember her face.
It was radiant as the sunset.
It was young as the new moon.
It was enchanting as the rain falling on the earth.

She died of cancer and I was there,
with the black bile seeping from her lips,
and her pulse trickling down to a stream.
She wore Chanel N°. 5.

She died in October and winter was not white snow
but black bile that spilled across the frozen rivers.
She is buried in Standish Cemetery, Ohio.
She looks out upon the farm where she would have retired.

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