Like Mothers

Mom’s 75th birthday, July 2019

Today would have been my mother’s 76th birthday. In her honor, we’re going to a beach she loved on Puget Sound to walk, pick up shells, and watch birds–some of her favorite things to do. Also in her honor, I wrote the poem below. Poetry isn’t my main genre (as is probably evident!), but I love how the form can communicate story and emotion.

This one’s for you, mom. And for you, too, my girls.

Like Mothers

In the corners of the couch we found on Craigslist
I often discover books
Wedged between cushions
Pages battered and spines cracked
Covers smudged with sticky fingerprints
Temporarily misplaced but not forgotten
Well-loved and never forgotten.

Like mothers like daughters like daughters like mothers.

Mom, me, and Spot, the 1st incorrigible dog, 1970s

On the pads of paper my mother picked out for my daughters
I often discover pictures of characters
With pony tails and prosthetic limbs
Mothers and sisters and cousins
Girls with names like Amy, Rose, Violet
Marigold, Felicia, and a girl named Bob
With two moms or sometimes only one
Families made up of women and girls
And the occasional incorrigible boy dog.

Like mothers like daughters like daughters like mothers.

Our girls are readers and writers, story lovers and storytellers.
Each night we set sail on the living room couch
The one we found on Craigslist that fits all five of us—
Plus two adorable, incorrigible dogs.
We pull up our anchor and open the family book and read
Transported together into another author’s imagined world
One that feels real enough to us.

Mom and me at my first reading, April 2010

Like mothers like daughters like daughters like mothers.

When I was a child, I read with my mother on our living room couch
Story lovers and storytellers, both of us
Entranced by another author’s imagined world
That felt real enough to us.
Later, I created characters on the page
Girls with ponytails and time travel devices
And the occasional incorrigible dog.
My mother was my first reader
My first editor
My first fan.

Like mothers like daughters like daughters like mothers.

Her computer sits in the girls’ playroom now
Files upon files of written words—
All hers—
That no one else has ever read
Temporarily misplaced but not forgotten.
One day I will read her words with my daughters
And we will remember my mother
Well-loved and not forgotten,
Never forgotten.

Like mothers like daughters like daughters like mothers.

Mom reading to Alex, May 2017
Storytelling, July 2018
Mom reading to the girls, December 2019

About Kate Christie

I'm a lesbian fiction author currently residing in the Pacific Northwest. To read excerpts and more of my novels, visit www.katejchristie.com.
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