my mother myself

–Nancy Friday

It was the decades of her need and guilt
which drove me madly through life, even now
that she’s dead and scattered these past years.
How long does it take to slough off the last
of the omphalos blood, the bloody cowl,
that first transformation of sperm and egg?
In a photo before Lisa and I
took off for Europe, she sat in her chair
in the rumpled tidiness of her home,
her brow furrowed in a mastered worry,
her hand cupped to her mouth as if in shock:
this morning, I saw myself sit that way.

(April 2013)

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