By Thea Biesheuvel
A mighty fortress, in her chair
my mother sits, exists
within her room, her square.
She chats about her skin, her hair,
the home she missed
when this became her Unit.
Her unitary state approved,
though she's the keystone of our arc.
could never be extracted. She's removed.
The solitary matriarch.
The strength comes from within, her base
our family tree of old,
possession still of her antiques, kind face,
a stubborn faith, foreign Dutch place,
some chairs, bed-end, papers with mould
piled up where they might fit.
Things not for use, or not for her
a stack of memories, an image,
a way things never were
while she was still that personage.
Her children's kids provide a cause
of satisfaction, or disdain
their gifts, a 'lekker koekie', the silent pause
when they don't come, the source
of casual pleasure or deep pain
though this she won't admit.
Her photos serve as proof complete
that once she was, had once a life
and house, real bricks and mortar in a street,
was once a valued wife.
As chaff before a breeze she's blown
away from usefulness and roots.
Her house pulled down, her children grown.
Walled off from life, she sits alone
with memories her servants; idly puts
another bouquet near the bed-side phone.
Between the present and those gone she flits;
A mighty fortress once, now just a ruin.
The ancient landscape of her life befits
the castle of a queen deposed too soon.
Categories: Featured Poems from Our Subscribers