Today is Mother’s Day in Ireland. I no longer live in Ireland, nor is my mother still alive, but I remember her today, as I do most days.
I remember your hands busy, busy,
with Tupperware boxes in pastel shades,
or softly pushing back my fringe
for a good-night kiss on your way to a play.
The waft of Chanel from your calming arms,
my fingers lost in the fur of your coat,
the nightlight catching your bracelet’s charms,
‘That will be yours whenever I go.’
I remember your voice, humming, humming,
low and soothing like distant whale song,
as I studied my books in the womb of the kitchen
you hemmed our skirts with pins in your mouth.
I remember your voice at parties, singing
Don’t cry for me Argentina off key
or your laugh at the conga line out in the driveway,
looping the Renault at quarter to three.
I remember my child-mind wondering, wondering,
‘Breast or leg, Mam?’ my father would say,
electric knife in the air, waving,
‘Oh, I think I’ll have the wing today.’
I remember your eyes, smiling, smiling,
as searing hot plates passed through your hands,
‘But why on earth would you pick the wing?’
‘When you’re a mother, you’ll understand.’
I remember your voice, laughing, laughing,
‘I finally get to have nice hair!
The wig gives my head a much better shape,
the girl who trimmed it took such care.’
I remember your voice, slowing, slowing,
‘I don’t think I have much time, my dear,
this morning’s dew was like diamonds, darling,
I’m lucky to have this view from up here.’
I could not witness your tragic passing,
nor the mourners singing Queen of the May.
They warned the long haul could bring on the baby
so I grieved instead at my daughter’s ballet.
Seven years later I still feel the impulse
to call you if I’ve a new story to tell,
if you find me blasé when we chat in my dreams,
in those fields of my mind, you’re alive and well.
Audrey Molloy 2016