Laundry Day | album 54

alice pleasant and my sister


She looked behind her and saw her future,
the passions of her youth,
slowly simmered,
tempered by unspoken contracts signed.
Somehow, the whole wide world ahead became
pink and green floral wallpaper,
dinner on the table by 5,
laundry on the line on Tuesdays,
pressed pillow cases and stacks of neatly folded diapers.
Ever so slowly, the requisites of life took their place,
and her dreams
like leaves fell gently from the tree,
so quietly and calmly,
that not even she noticed
when they fell to the ground.

 

This poem is grounded in a conversation I had with my mother.  She had recently been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and I had gone back home to be with her.  One afternoon, she wistfully shared her youthful dream to go into politics but quickly reminded me, " Back then the only choices for women were housewife, secretary, teacher or nurse so I became a secretary and a housewife.  I am so glad you girls have more choices."  I left her that afternoon and went to Amsterdam for the week for an exhibition.  The night of my opening she unexpectedly fell into a coma.  I returned the next day and after a 30 hour journey home she passed soon after I arrived.  Our last conversation that afternoon turned out to be the last conversation.  This poem is dedicated to her with a heart full of gratitude for instilling in her daughters that we could do whatever we wanted when we grew up.  Now, I know why it was so important to her.

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