I still see you Mom

So young and beautiful in body and spirit

I am in the bath, only 2 or 3

I look up and I see your face

porcelain skin framed by your dark hair

singing to me softly

as you sprinkled warm water over my shoulders

I still see you Mom

in your housedress, cooking and baking

flour on your hands, on your chin

making the perfect pie crust

I still see you Mom

dressing in the mornings, early

the stockings, girdle, hands nimbly working

through their morning routine

one slender leg at a time

I still see you Mom

suitcase in hand at our front door

leaving for another solo weekend at the Queen E hotel

for some personal time

I am little, looking at you with your hand on the doorknob

reassuring me that you will be back on Sunday

I still see you Mom

casting off the housedress

rejecting the role you were trained to play

reading, devouring the Feminine Mystique

on the couch in the dark

soft classical music

attempting to ease the jagged edges of your soul

turning away from my father’s kiss

my mother on the verge of awakening

I still see you Mom

on your own

independent

your own digs

perfumed with long-awaited peace of mind

new life

not a wife

I still see you Mom

as you want to be seen

though your hands shake

and your silky stockings have been replaced

with stretchy Costco pants and blankets

and your sentences struggle to form from your mouth

I hear you from wherever this disease has taken you captive

Where skilled but strange hands shower you

change you

feed you

hold you

And you weather these indignities because

deep in your soul you are intact

You are Doris the Elegant

Doris the Refined

still articulate

still intelligent

still beautiful

still wise

always my Mother

I still see you, Mom.

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