#19 summer summit 2018

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I can't celebrate a birthday without thinking about my mother and all the things she taught me. Today I sorted through a series of boxes of my pottery that she saved. I don't need to keep them any more but her attention and love of these objects taught me so many great, great lessons. Always have plenty of vases on hand for flowers for the table or for whomever else might need some color. Always fill a bowl with a peach and a vase with a flower. Always pause for a drawing, a photograph, or a poem.

19 summer 2019.jpg
What I Learned From My Mother
By Julia Kasdorf

I learned from my mother how to love
the living, to have plenty of vases on hand
in case you have to rush to the hospital
with peonies cut from the lawn, black ants
still stuck to the buds. I learned to save jars
large enough to hold fruit salad for a whole
grieving household, to cube home-canned pears
and peaches, to slice through maroon grape skins
and flick out the sexual seeds with a knife point.
I learned to attend viewings even if I didn't know
the deceased, to press the moist hands
of the living, to look in their eyes and offer
sympathy, as though I understood loss even then.
I learned that whatever we say means nothing,
what anyone will remember is that we came.
I learned to believe I had the power to ease
awful pains materially like an angel.
Like a doctor, I learned to create
from another's suffering my own usefulness, and once
you know how to do this, you can never refuse.
To every house you enter, you must offer
healing: a chocolate cake you baked yourself,
the blessing of your voice, your chaste touch.

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This page contains a single entry by Catherine White published on June 19, 2018 11:15 PM.

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