While I am on sabbatical this year taking writing and poetry classes, I thought I'd step briefly into the public domain to share my poem, Jane Tree Corner.
Earlier this month, Rubin, my sister, Kath, and I travelled to Albuquerque for the Memorial Service for mother’s twin. Mother, almost 95, decided the trip from Michigan to New Mexico in the midst of the spiking coronavirus, could jeopardize her health and ability to live independently. I agreed to videotape the service and the weekend celebration for her—to include interviewing family and friends. I returned home overwhelmed with my uncle’s love of life, laughter and family. I was reminded of the importance of creating magical moments with those we love . . . like the time my uncle and members of his family travelled to Holland to celebrate his 90th birthday with his twin. In the almost-seven years Mother has lived in Holland, that weekend’s visit to Windmill Island is the only time she has seen the windmill turn. Truly, in Mother’s words, “A Magical Moment.”
Jane Tree Corner
It is how we begin every morning;
she in the recliner, me sliding down the bed
to the floor at her feet for our chairside chat.
But this morning, there is heightened excitement
in her voice and a mind as alert as I’ve seen
in many months. It is not the snow-white blossoms
outside her window, the sight of the male mallard
creating circles on the pond, the animated chatter
of the robins, sparrows, and red-winged blackbirds,
the yellow flowers of the mock strawberries
dancing across the green carpet bordering
the beleaguered remnants of the cattails.
But this surprising youthful exuberance
is the result of a decorative tree in a city park
with a bench that will soon be placed nearby.
On the bench, a plaque celebrating a poem,
her poem, and the lives of a pair of twins, intertwined.
Had I known the effect this simple request
would have on my mother, I would have cared more
about their decision and possibly ruined everything.
As it was, I let go and am watching a miracle unfold,
just like the pink buds on the small magnolia tree
we will visit this afternoon.
to my grandmother, who, in 1946, began gathering her seven children once a year to celebrate life as family.
Prior to 2020, the year of the pandemic, the family gathered 74 consecutive years, long after our grandmother passed. It makes sharing memories a fun-filled, meaningful experience.
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