Write A Poem About This

Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz

“Let’s feed out tears to the dragons of misery, but let’s never crawl in their mouths.”

Cristin O-Keefe Aptowicz

My Mother Wants To Know If I’m Dead

by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz

RE YOU DEAD? is the subject line of her email.
The text outlines the numerous ways she thinks
I could have died: slain by an axe-murderer, lifeless
on the side of a highway, choked to death by smoke
since I’m a city girl and likely didn’t realize you needed
to open the chimney flue before making a fire (and,
if I do happen to be alive, here’s a link to a YouTube
video on fireplace safety that I should watch). Mom
muses about the point of writing this email. If I am
already dead, which is what she suspects, I wouldn’t
be able to read it. And if I’m alive, what kind of daughter
am I not to write her own mother to let her know
that I’ve arrived at my fancy residency, safe and sound,
and then to immediately send pictures of everything,
like I promised her! If this was a crime show, she posits,
the detective might accuse her of sending this email
as a cover up for murder. How could she be the murderer,
if she wrote an email to her daughter asking if she was murdered?
her defense lawyers would argue at the trial. In fact,
now that she thinks of it, this email is the perfect alibi
for murdering me. And that is something I should
definitely keep in mind, if I don’t write her back
as soon as I have a free goddamn second to spare.


Sleeping in Late with My Mother

by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz

She apologizes. It’s not like her. She’s usually up by six.
But it’s the weekend, you tell her, there is no need to rush!

The plan for the day is breakfast somewhere and walking
somewhere else. I’m happy, but Mom can’t believe that

she forgot to bring conditioner, or that she slept so late.
The housekeeper at the discount hotel knocks. We’re still here,

we’re still here!
she shouts back. Girls’ weekend, just us two,
and still we have to remind each other it’s okay to take our time.

No rush, we say to each other, firmly. I’m writing two poems
a day all summer: one every morning and again every night.

It is morning and my mom tells me, Write a poem about this,
but don’t mention I slept in so late! Just put down that your mother


is taking it easy, that your mother is taking her time for once!
So I do
what she says, sort of. And the housekeeper knocks again.

But this time, my mother doesn’t jump. Instead, she leans back,
comfortable, and shouts: Still here, Still here! We are still here!

To My Mother

Edgar Allan Poe

“I was never really insane except upon occasions when my heart was touched.”

Edgar Allan Poe

To My Mother

By Edgar Allan Poe
 
Because I feel that, in the Heavens above,
The angels, whispering to one another,
Can find, among their burning terms of love,
None so devotional as that of “Mother,”
Therefore by that dear name I long have called you—
You who are more than mother unto me,
And fill my heart of hearts, where Death installed you
In setting my Virginia’s spirit free.
My mother—my own mother, who died early,
Was but the mother of myself; but you
Are mother to the one I loved so dearly,
And thus are dearer than the mother I knew
By that infinity with which my wife
Was dearer to my soul than its soul-life.
 
 

Sonnets Are Full of Love

By Christina Rossetti

Sonnets are full of love, and this my tome
Has many sonnets: so here now shall be
One sonnet more, a love sonnet, from me
To her whose heart is my heart’s quiet home,
To my first Love, my Mother, on whose knee
I learnt love-lore that is not troublesome;
Whose service is my special dignity,
And she my loadstar while I go and come

And so because you love me, and because
I love you, Mother, I have woven a wreath
Of rhymes wherewith to crown your honoured name:
In you not fourscore years can dim the flame
Of love, whose blessed glow transcends the laws
Of time and change and mortal life and death.

Joy’s Perfect Wholeness

e. e. cummings

“Unless you love someone, nothing else makes sense.”

e. e. cummings

if there are any heavens

by e. e. cummings

if there are any heavens my mother will(all by herself)have
one. It will not be a pansy heaven nor
a fragile heaven of lilies-of-the-valley but
it will be a heaven of blackred roses

my father will be(deep like a rose
tall like a rose)

standing near my
(swaying over her
silent)
with eyes which are really petals and see

nothing with the face of a poet really which
is a flower and not a face with
hands
which whisper
This is my beloved my
(suddenly in sunlight

he will bow,

& the whole garden will bow)

your homecoming will be my homecoming

by e. e. cummings

your homecoming will be my homecoming-

my selves go with you, only i remain;
a shadow phantom effigy or seeming
(an almost someone always who’s noone)

a noone who, till their and your returning,
spends the forever of his loneliness
dreaming their eyes have opened to your mourning

feeling their stars have risen through your skies:

so, in how merciful love’s own name, linger
no more than selfless i can quite endure
the absence of that moment when a stranger
takes in his arms my very lifes who’s you

-when all fears hopes beliefs doubts disappear.
Everywhere and joy’s perfect wholeness we’re