Me Ma' is slipping from my life
the past rushing behind those eyes
watery blue in the failing light.
And my Irish has gone with her.
The lace curtains, the novena candle
Her brothers singing the Ave in
choir loft, the Lachine spinster aunts.
Who will I tease about the troop
shows? Or ask aboutthe wartime
telegram saying Burke was gone?
She was raised by French nuns,
she hated them for beating her.
Now she greets the Filipino nurse
with a look of mad mischief.
On good days she knows my name
when I show her wedding photos.
On others we watch the birds
that fly past her window garden.
She shows me the women she hates.
And the men that she likes. But
the trappings have now failed her.
The sad music of The Chieftains,
the brandy snifter in her purse
in case of dire emergencies.
The weathered photo of her father
reading the Montreal Herald in 1937.
So I close the door quietly behind
while she watches golf on the TV.
The past, I see, is now a distant shore
where I can visit, alas, no more.