On Becoming Her
Starting last week, on Tuesday, the woman in the mirror was my Mom. Then me, then she. Fifteen, no, sixteen years dead. How did she do that? While she lived, my every energy went to wearing anti-Mom armor. Now there she is, old Mom, defenseless. Apples in her cheeks. Looking back at me.
We get the face we deserve. But what did I do to deserve her face? Except become fifty-one.
When I was nine, then ten. That year she was fifty, then fifty-one. That summer when I was ten, she spent in a soft cotton nightgown, staring out of the bay window of our front room on Sanchez Street. She watched but did not see the street below.
The summer when I was ten, I spent as a compulsive street urchin, playing blocks away from home. Away morning to night. Cadging meals at friends’ homes. Staying away. Wishing not to see my Mom in her soft cotton nightgown, staring at but not seeing the street below the bay window of our front room.
Barbara J. Williams has had the good fortune to live a number of lives, from soccer mom to non-traditional student to research librarian to retired person. Her poems have appeared in Inspirit, Oracle, Steam Ticket II, and Fickle Muses.