Because of the Ghosts

GIGI_MemosI am re-reading my mother’s new book of poems, Memos from the Broken World, now that it’s out in the world – it is so thoughtful and poignant and illuminating. This is a poem I particularly (selfishly) love — being the daughter mentioned in the poem, and being mother to a daughter of my own now, watching her, too, “move on to her life.” And because of the ghosts, of course.

Because of the Ghosts

because we are three on the steps,
side by side, not together

because my mother pretends to read, eyes
on her book, knees drawn together over skinny
varicose veins

because my daughter’s eyes look left–she is wild
to be elsewhere–and mine rest on a space
between, as if I were riding a difficult horse,
my torso half-twisting,

because we had no chance
to compose our faces,
turn to the camera and lie,

and the ghost of another exposure
frames us in three pale windows of light
so we’re seen through shadows
we’ll someday become,

because of the ghosts,

because it shows us as we really were–already
moving on–my mother to her death,
my daughter to her life,

me, twisting between them.