Homage to Them


Mom & Dad - FramedToday is the one-year anniversary of mother’s death. My dad passed away in 2013, a year before her.

In my life, I’ve observed several ways in which people grieve. Some mourn their parents by becoming them before they die. A sort of understudy, or dress rehearsal, that prepares them for the transition.

Some mourn them by taking on their habits and personalities after they disappear. A sort of preservation and transfer of spirit.

Others mourn through stages of grief, rather like climbing a terraced garden for many, many years. What looks like a walking meditation of stair-climbing and mezzanine pauses.

For me, I mourn my parents by thinking of what I want to gain from them. Qualities that I want to be gifted from each to push me forward on my own private path.

I’ve written a poem of remembrance for my mother and for my father. Each is a realization that came after they vanished from the physical world. Together they are pleas of love that I want to swallow as I make my way alone.



in white lace tapered like an inverted art nouveau

orchid vase

its open-blossomed lip spilling out

around you in a pleated puddle

on your mother’s emerald lawn.


in a delicate needle-lace veil

rippling long, long down your back.

Your short chic coal-black hair

with just a hint of sassy.

Your lips like a ruby parting

as you smiled a keyboard of ivory.

All hope and love were stitched

into that exquisitely intricate dress


the way you held your slender body

and faced the camera straight on

No doubt. No hesitation.

That would come later.

But on that hot afternoon in August

you were extraordinarily confident

in your beauty

and your call to duty as a post-war wife.

Later I would dearly crave the structure of your grace

for my own moment of marriage.

Your awkward introverted little girl

started early to practice.

To memorize.

The Polaris star

My North Star

Until your light went out

I never knew how brightly you lit my way.

Until your needle stood still

I never called you my compass.

Wherever I’ve lived

I’ve watched the night sky.

Before crawling into bed

I search for the North Star.

Instead of prayers

I hold my gaze on that dogged, unwavering star.

I never knew I was searching for you each time –

to get me through the night and its following day.

You were my constancy

though separated by thousands of miles

Just knowing that you were in the world –

in the world standing still and simply being my Dad

Gave me safety in chaos.

Now I can feel the earth tremble.

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