Skip to content

doors: a poem for mothers

June 16, 2008

My downstairs neighbor was giving me a key to his place
so I could come over and watch TV cuz my ex took his with him.

That’s Mother, said my neighbor.

I was looking at a young woman’s graduation picture,
his daughter i thought,
she resembled him–
fullness in her hair,
something about the eyes
the mixed smile
open to the world but cautious.

Behind the photo rested an urn.

Mother died on New Year’s Day,
he continued.

The young woman had crooked teeth,
a shining face, promise, dreams:
was she his daughter? niece?

My brother, he never did anything for her–
never visited her, he said.
He was the last one to see her–
he dropped her off after Christmas dinner–
she had a heart attack–
no one knew
til my sister went to check on her after Christmas dinner
when she didn’t answer the phone.
Mother was lying on the floor–
she was in the hospital a week–
she never…

Mother died on New Year’s–
she lasted that long–
but if she’d quit smoking after the first one…
well she quit last year but i guess it wasn’t…

I’m sorry, I said.

I got some coffee, ya want some? I’m gonna have some, he said.

No, that’s ok, I said.
I followed him down the hall
past a prosthesis–
a leg, a women’s leg
serving as a doorstop.

I wondered if it was Mother
holding the door open for him
for the girl in the picture
for me.

I published this poem as a broadside for ArtLife Limited Editions May 1997 copying an old family photograph in brown ink sepia like onto brown paper, then copying  the text on top in blue, finally numbering and signing it in an edition of 200. I gave 105 to ArtLife and kept the rest to sell. If you are interested in one, let me know!

for other stories, go to readwritepoem…for other poems, take a ride on the poetry train

7 Comments leave one →
  1. nathan1313 permalink
    June 16, 2008 9:19 am

    The image of the prosthesis — wonderful. It makes the poem into a door held open to the strangeness of encounters, the possibility of connections. This is a great read.

  2. June 16, 2008 9:52 am

    Precise and controlled. He has real character and the story unfolds with the mystery drawing the reader on. The poem has a real sense of place and a very subtle tone. Great work.

  3. June 16, 2008 5:21 pm

    Door within doors..all slowly opening up. Seems so plausible..

    she hoards trash

  4. June 16, 2008 6:39 pm

    What I like about your poems is that it is like I was thinking out loud!

  5. June 17, 2008 1:17 am

    Very nice. The subtle images a prefect for the subject.

  6. June 17, 2008 1:20 am

    Sorry, I was logged in under the wrong account for the last message.

  7. June 18, 2008 3:35 pm

    easy going read.. thoroughly enjoyable story told… setup was perfect.. focus on the photo and walking through his apartment.. and the leg, the best!…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Taxi Talk Without Tipping

Querus Abuttu

The "Q" Review

Jack Elliott's Santa Barbara Adventure

. . .tales from one man's wanderings, regional insight and history

The magical world of wines from Grocery Outlet

The best and the worst of Gross Out.

Stephen McConnell

A Daily Journal of Fruit, Structure, Varietal honesty, and Balance.

Sonoran Images

Photography by Steven Kessel


Diary of a Wine Student

Syrah Queen

Wine, Food & Travel Resource

The Paper Plane Journey

About my passion for wine and travel

Briscoe Bites

Booze, Baking, Big Bites and More!

Mythology Matters

Matters of Myth, and Why Myth Matters

Smith-Madrone News

Good Thoughts & Great Wine from Spring Mountain, Napa Valley

Classic China

Updates on SW China cultural and education sector lifestyle blog

Fueled by Coffee

Lifestyle, food, parenting, DYI

Bottled Bliss

Day-colored wine, night-colored wine, wine with purple feet...

Do Bianchi

Negotiating the Epistemologic Implications of Oenophilia


Global wine culture

Elizabeth Gabay MW

Wine, Food and History: from the Rhone to Piedmont

Budget Trek Kashmir

Family run Company Specialist Trekking in Jammu & Kashmir, North Indian Himalayas

Oldfield's Wanderings

Objects in blog are closer than they appear

Memorable Moments

Adventures & "Bucket" Lists That Keep Life Interesting

Vinos y Pasiones

Información acerca de bodegas, vinos, gastronomía y enoturismo.

Best Tanzania Travel Guides

from Kilimanjaro to the Serengeti and beyond


The Best Guide in Tanzania

Pull That Cork

Wine makes our life more fun.

Always Ravenous

Adventures in Food and Wine

Joy of Wine

"Wine cheereth God and man." -- Judges 9:13

Side Hustle Wino

If you're not having fun, you're not doing right.

Vineyard Son Alegre

Organic Wine And Olive Oil From Santanyí, Mallorca (Spain)

L.M. Archer

wordsmith | consumer, b2b + b2c

What's in that Bottle?

Better Living Through Better Wine!


My humble wine blog


When food and wine click!

The Flavor of Grace

Helene Kremer's The Flavor of Grace

The Swirling Dervish

Wine Stories, Food Pairings, and Life Adventures


Living La Vida Vino!

Dracaena Wines

Our Wines + Your Moments = Great Memories

Drifting Through

Welcome to the inner workings of my mind

%d bloggers like this: