My New Funny Old Mother

NatashaLeeDesigns

Natasha Lee Designs

Will I ever be as funny as my mother at ninety?
I hope so, for everyone’s sake, especially mine.
This woman, who swims, learns Spanish, cooks for herself,
and works Thursdays at the library — this very Mother —
burps after every bite, wets her pants, washes them,
sports a hearing aid that screeches carols,
and says, “Whatever!” to whatever happens,
when in the past she didn’t trust much good
would come of anything, or anyone,
and often pointed to what wasn’t working
to preserve her worried soul from what could soon go wrong.
When we said, “See you in the morning, Mom!”
she said, “We’ll see about that!”
But now she says, “That would be nice.”
Relieved of my dreams of perfection, I can’t stop laughing,
gently, softly, when her hearing aid syncopates her burps,
and she asks, “What? What’s so funny?” — giggling —
because she knows I love her as she is.
No changes needed. Nothing to fix.
“See,” she says, “I told you. Everything’s fine.”

“My New, Funny Old Mother” by Freya Manfred from Speak, Mother. © Red Dragonfly Press, 2015.

396 Common

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Nothing in Common

by Freya Manfred

Sometimes I feel I have nothing in common with anyone.
I shamble through the day, dragging my knuckles in the grass,
and each new hour with each new person is a cliff I can’t climb —

yet I know I’m alive now — inside a song as deep as forever,
that stretches to the infinite future and the bottomless past,
connecting every place I’ve lived or nearly died —

and I shouldn’t worry so much about losing what’s most precious,
my simian balance, shaggy fur, bold fleas,
my plentiful fingers and opposable thumbs,

and my curious, glowing, ape-like eyes that still shine
with radiant chaos, wondrous animal calm,
and so much love, for everyone

Yesterday my son brought the grand kids to visit, and the Labrador grand dog, Camden. She slept on her dog embroided lamb skin, ate cookies and food, drank from her personal dish, and had toilet time outside. Knew she was loved and, despite painful arthritis, kept beside me all day, faithful to Nana.

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