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A Mother Speaks of Boston
by Carole Bugge

Remember when you were four with scarlet fever
and couldn't sleep so I told you stories all night,
stories of children and dogs, princes and castles,
of winter winds and spring rains, until finally you slept
I pressed my hand to your burning head
and you looked up at me—do you know what I felt then
what only a mother feels
you couldn't possibly have guessed how deep it was
like a tree whose roots had buried themselves in my heart
But do you remember?

Do you remember when later (the fever had left only a few
white spots on your teeth), you had a record you loved
about two firemen who ate lamb chops and ice cream for dinner
and I went out and bought you lamb chops and ice cream that night
We ate in the kitchen on the white wooden table with the red checkered cloth
we lit candles and listened to the story
of the firemen while we ate our ice cream—do you remember?

And later, when you dropped your doll Rosie from the fire escape
and couldn't find her anywhere on the street—
when you grieved for her do you remember what I told you?
That she had been found by a poor child who couldn't afford a doll
and that she would be loved in her new home—and then we went out and bought
candy corns
You loved candy corns, do you remember?

And another time, when we moved into the big white house with all
the fireplaces, when the last trip had been made in the pick-up truck
(you riding in the back, your hair stiff in the wind)
we sat around the fire inhaling the fall smell of wood and ate pizza
and you feel asleep right there by the fire, do you remember that?

I ask you this because these are the things a mother remembers
These are a mother's memories, and because I want them to be yours I ask you again:
do you remember?


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