Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present “Conversation” by Carolyn Martin. Ms. Martin won the Songs of Eretz Poetry Award in February of this year. Her poems have appeared in publications throughout the US and UK, and her second collection, The Way a Woman Knows, was released earlier this year by The Poetry Box www.thewayawomanknows.com. A detailed biography may be found here: http://eretzsongs.blogspot.com/2014/12/the-songs-of-eretz-poet-of-week-for.html.
Saturday, our 9:00 a.m. ritual.
In Jersey she delays her lunch until
my call from Oregon. Three rings – no more –
and I swoop in to question her before
she questions me. She cannot listen long,
so I defer to doctors, favorite songs,
and bouncing checks. Forgetting, she repeats
each fact a dozen times – the stroke still cheats
her memory. I cheer her on in spite
of all those ancient mother/daughter fights
we wasted our lives on. Don’t get old, each week
her ninety-one commands my seventy.
Compassion prays she’ll die asleep in bed,
forgetting all the words I never said.
Poet’s Notes: This sonnet recounts pretty accurately the weekly conversation I have with my mother. At 91-years-of-age, she lives in her own apartment and, although she suffered a minor stroke three years ago, she is still able to do many things for herself. While I’m an introvert, she’s an extrovert who can out-talk me even with her repetitions. One of her favorite admonitions is, “Don’t get old.” At 70, I usually joke back, “But, mom, I’m already old.”
Editor’s Note: I like the poetic take on the conflicts that occur between some mothers and daughters or, more universally, between parents and their children. The final couplet is particularly moving. “Conversation” was first published in Antiphon, June 2015.