Conversation

Saturday, our 9:00 a.m. ritual.
In Jersey she delays her lunch until
my call from Oregon. Three rings – no more –
and I swoop in to question her before
she questions me. She cannot listen long,
so I defer to doctors, favorite songs,
and bouncing checks. Forgetting, she repeats
each fact a dozen times – the stroke still cheats
her memory. I cheer her on in spite
of all those ancient mother/daughter fights
we wasted our lives on. Don’t get old, each week
her ninety-one commands my seventy.
Compassion prays she’ll die asleep in bed,
forgetting all the words I never said.

This is a reprint of work originally published in Antiphon.

Carolyn Martin is blissfully retired in Clackamas, Oregon, where she gardens, writes, and plays with creative friends. Her poems have appeared in journals throughout the US and UK, and her second collection, The Way a Woman Knows, was released by The Poetry Box, Portland, OR, in February 2015. Since the only poem she wrote in high school was red-penciled “extremely maudlin,” she’s still amazed she continues to write.

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