Elegy to a Mother
Laura Aved

When a mother dies it’s a startling affair
In an instant life changes
And like a match lit to dry grass
Something barren takes it place
My mother used to say, “You only have one mother”
Emphasizing her position so I wouldn’t forget
It was a role that didn’t suit her
But she wore it
Like a yellow housecoat
To hide inside the years
That were left behind.

Once a free spirit
She let God clip one wing
And a man the other
Somewhere along the way
She became a Dickinson poem
Where “life is over there”
Held captive by a broken key
I wanted to set her free
But I didn’t know how
So I was surprised at her funeral
Looking down at the drab pine box
That I had the wish to drill holes
And give her life another chance.