Each time I visit my Mother
by Susan B. Auld

she places another memory like a puzzle piece into my empty hand,
pulled magically from hiding places in wooden boxes and red velvet bags
closed by string. It’s my job to put the pieces together for a glisten, sparkle,
for a moment.

“Tell me…” I ask. But she doesn’t. And the blue silk baby dress
with its embroidered bonnet yellows lifeless. The framed face of a child
caught in a timeless pose looks away, and Nana, her arm around her best friend, Mary
smiles for only that moment in the sun, for no other reason than for the camera.

“Take these,” my mother says, handing me the box and bag
with the silent pieces packed away,
passing her life on to me without the stories.

first published in Visiting Morning and Other Quiet Places (The Tradewinds Company 2008)

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