For today’s post I am going to share with you one of my favorite poems. I have a lot of favorites, and this one I first read early on in my grad school work. I think the author was a friend of my professor’s. My professor was so hip: urban, flowy, intelligent, down-to-earth… She and her husband had this amazing loft in Boston she invited the class to at the end of the semester. They had walls and walls of books and slept on a bed elevated in front of floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the city. They served us wine and kept the lights low and I thought they were so cool.
Anyway I love this poem. I love the title, I love the fierce mother in it and always saw my own in the description. I love the daughter’s quest for independence as she is tied to and molded by the mother.
Please excuse formatting issues, as I’m away from my computer and posting from the phone. I hope you enjoy.
The Beach of My Mom
by Terri Ford
I know why the ships are she. I’ve got
this parent, striding down shore
like she means it. She does, swinging heads
of iceberg lettuce, purple cabbage. My mom
is a team, she’s the strength
of blue, told off the Christmas tree
the year my dad left.
My mom is taking things out of my hands
to improve me. “Just tell me how,” I say – apple pie,
hammer, needle – but she hasn’t the words, asks
for the whatzit sitting on the thing
over there. This is how
she’s always loved me – nonspecific, standing
too close like a basketball forward
in the too bright light, trying to take
the ball meant for mine, so when I look up
my moments of light are obscured by a reaching
of arms and a holler and all of the vast trees
are calling to me lest I injure myself, which I do.
My mother’s not sleeping. She says
it’s her change; for years she’s charted every
outbreak: light spotting, old rust; or floating, how
she woke up drenched. She is endless, the beach
of my mom. I came from this
roaring. Against this current I’m wading out.