In the dark cold of my house with our heat pump humming I dreamed of my mother. I was holding her by the elbow and we were walking through the snow talking about making prints in Maine during the summer. She told me about a poem she had lost, left on the dirty dessert dishes.
In the light of the morning I talked on the phone to my daughter. We spoke of the poems she wrote, collected and printed for her class. I am amazed by this triangular pattern of influences from daughter to mother back to daughter. My mother wrote poems, but was reluctant to share them with us. Now, years after her death, when I visit my father I find her voice again as poems surface in her papers or drawers. Zoe is writing a poem about my parents' New York City loft and over Thanksgiving she photographed it for visual clues. I looked over her shoulder as if through her lens and learned to articulate the details of my own childhood and young adulthood with new clarity. Recently I listened to an interview with Marie Howe on Fresh Air. She read poems about grief and the death of her brother and mother. Howe teaches at Sarah Lawrence College where my mother went and where my daughter now goes--both with an intense connection to the education. The poems, the school, the child, the mother, are all so intertwined in my history and in my present; they shift the focus on the dawn of a winter day.
"I called her name into the fold between night and day I called it without expecting to hear an answer."
--from the poem Questions by Marie Howe in The Kingdom of Ordinary Time