Patty Cole, Mamma’s Rising to the Ink Spots

Patty Cole

She had never died before,
but there she lay breathing
like a hooked fish thrown
on the ground, eyes like coffins
swinging open and closed on a rusty hinge.

For years we pushed Mom
between thorazine and shock
until she no longer spoke, hoped.

So she smoked all day, every day.
Her endless trail of ash and fumes,
destroyed anything sweet in our lives.

I never could extinguish her pain.

When the doctors took her off the ventilator,
I was with her. Sweet Mamma. Pretty Mamma.
The voices can’t hurt you anymore.

She looked at me, doe-eyed, bobbed her head,

I love coffee, I love tea.
I love the java jive and it loves me.
Coffee and tea and the jiving and me,
a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup!

Author’s Comment: This poem was inspired by the passing on my mother in 2009, which sparked a firestorm in my mind on the subject of mortality–mine, my family’s, and friends’.

Bio: Patty Cole, a writer of poetry, essays, and fiction, lives with her husband and many animals in Chatham County, North Carolina, where snakes increase, coyotes run in packs, stars punctuate black nights, and in rich and fertile soil, writers grow.

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