A WOMAN IS HER MOTHER

a semi-glosa
The title is a line by Anne Sexton.
The italicized lines are by Dylan Thomas and Sharon Olds, including the title.


A woman is her mother, thatís the only thing.
After the first death, there is no other.
Itís April, and loss is in the air.
Trees lose their blossoms in this weather.

After the first death, no other
grief matters. April, loss everywhere,
trees let their blossoms fall.
I want you back, I want you here,

even though Aprilís loss brings on the flowers,
trees forming new buds along each branch.
But thereís no turning back for us,
whose calyx, pistil, ovary blooms in flesh.

And each tree has a different seed: wings, pods, cones.
Itís an old story, . . .replacement, a way back
as a grandchild wears your eyes, your chin, your mouth.
But itís not you, to whom I need to talk.

The only way back is to go forward.
Itís April, grief everywhere.
I want to call you on the telephone.
A woman is her mother, but alone.
~Barbara Crooker
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