"Mothers in Heaven" - Markay Brown

I always write as if to my mother.
- Ted Kooser

What shall I say to my mother today?
How is heaven after sixty-four years?
You’d be ninety-three on earth,
crinkled, complaining about your back,
forgetting where you put your teeth.

But I see your golden hair
in a perfect 1940’s bob,
you, pink as your chenille robe,
seated on a chrome kitchen chair.

Curious, what a four-year-old absorbs,
what soaks into the soul like permanent dye:
      your hugs in the night
      when the Terribles came to visit,
      or hand in hand
      skips around the block
      singing Skip to my Lou,
      giggles
      when an old lady parted her curtains.

With your absence, another curtain parted
in my motherless hours. I sensed
the nearness of the Mother we once knew,
the Heavenly One who sent us off to earth
much as we send our little ones off to class,
with tears, prayers and hands held to the last.

How is school in heaven, Mom?
One day we’ll share a desk,
learn the mother’s art
from the One who knows it best.


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