Mother, Mine

(Dedicated to my mother, who died when I was 17. She was only 38 years old. I look just like her.)

Mother, mine,
gone from me too soon.
It’s hard to catch a glimpse of you
in my mind’s eye—
your face blurring,
then disappearing with the years.

My brothers tell me,
“You laugh just like Mom.”
Relatives whisper,
“Who does she dress like?”
and, “If she isn’t the spittin’ image,”
as they elbow each other
in shadowed corners.

On the telephone I always get,
“You sound just like your mother.”
Do people honestly think
it doesn’t bother me to hear that?
The trouble is, they aren’t thinking.

When I sobbingly question my father
about his now sidelong glances,
he admits, “I find it difficult
to look you full in the face.”

I run for my room.

Everyone else,
sees her in me.

Maybe it’s the only way
I have of truly seeing her.