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Poem: The Memories We Keep

By: Kathleen Connolly

Photo by Jeremy Yap on Unsplash

Crystal glasses clink together as mom sets
the patio table for tea. Her bones rub together
and she is more skeleton than skin. It is August
now, the third summer since Dad’s passing. She is
seventy-eight and still not used to being a widow.

There are four place settings even though I’ve
insisted John is not coming. Four glasses of
sweet tea sit in front of us. There are two slices of
lemon on the rim of dad’s glass & a faint hint
of whiskey hangs in the air.

She passes sugar cubes and we chat about the
children. Sally won an award from the debate team
& my mother says she is too smart for her own good.
I try to avoid her eyes when she asks why John is
so unhappy.

I think back to my childhood summers,
sitting under the oak tree, facing the
tomato patch my parents tend daily.
It is the only time they work together,
though mom would never admit that.

The garden is still alive. There is a plack next to
the cobblestones, in memoriam of my father.
Mom’s nails are always covered in dirt, but she
somehow remembers him as a good man, so she
weeds it each morning, on her hands & knees.

She can’t weigh more than ninety-eight pounds
now, but she looks so much stronger than she did
standing next to him. I wonder if Sally will say that
about me, when the divorce is finalized and she is
old enough to understand.



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