My mother is getting older, and I worry that I won’t get a chance to tell her I was wrong, either before I get release, or — something more finite, which I can’t even bring myself to say outloud.
I have memories of swinging on the tire swing that hung from our weeping willow, the scent of salt wafting up from the ocean nearby, and my mother hanging fresh laundry in the sunshine. A parade of white sheets waving their greetings in the breeze. My mother never understood me. I didn’t have conversations that I longed to have with her on our ocean front property. I would have told her that I’d found baby kittens in the barn, and that I was caring for them. I would have mentioned that I enjoyed dressing them up in my dolls clothes, and taking them for a bike rides, wearing bonnets, in the white basket that was strapped to the front of my handle bars.
It’s when the weather is on the edge of fall that I think of my mother. I don’t have the courage to write to her from prison, and tell her any of these things. I just have the memories of wanting to talk to her — but she was always busy doing something else.
Too busy for talks about kittens dressed in bonnets…
going on adventures with a little girl who thought deeply about all sorts of topics.
My mother still doesn’t know that I think like a poet, and that I paint with my words.
I don’t think she ever will, and I’ve made peace with that.