Three poems in memory of my mother Hazel Hilles – Jan 20, 2014

Posted: January 20, 2014 in Samples of My Writing, Writing Posts

Three poems in memory of my mother Hazel Hilles who died two years ago today: Jan 20, 2012. 

It is hard to believe a full two years have passed. Mom we miss you even more now.

My mother beside Dad's Car Winnipeg 1950 Cropped Four of us in River Hills 1957Hazel at Home Longbow Lake 1976Mom in Winnipeg Sept 21, 2011

These poems are from a manuscript in progress tentatively called Woven.

A Better Vessel

On a day in July 1965
Heavy rain brought relief
From porous heat
I stood with my mother
On the beach at Longbow Lake
Two dogs chased
One another along sand
Tails wagging

Time leaves no wake
Years finely bound by love
And planetary sway
We don’t witness
Nor name
I wish every bent corner
Could be smoothed down

That day in 1965
My mother waded into the lake
And kept going
Until only her head remained out of water
I wanted to shout for her to come back
But didn’t
She was at some personal tipping point
I would learn about later

I stood with my hands at my side
The flattening rain
Fixed me there
I imagined her mind
Empty of colliding thoughts
But rarely was

When she finally stepped on land
Water drained off her
Lovely she said
And tip-toed into
Tall grass

That day comes back to me
When she is 85
And I visit her in the nursing home
Her pulse faint
Skin translucent and nearly spoiled
Eyes moist but alert
She communicates with the tug of a hand
Or quick exhale
She recognizes me
Weakly says my name
One of the few she holds onto
I listen for every
Stray word

Buffer
 
Spring peas spooned
Onto white mushrooms
Next to pickerel

I want to pretend
That terrible night didn’t happen
My mother gone
And nothing light aims
Through cracked glass
Will bring her back
I never got to ask her
Nor that
Nor did she say for certain

Summer evenings
We sat against
The side of the house
She told stories
Stars too plentiful
To be a cosmic whim
Love a shivering
Our bodies nursed to
Stubborn light
On those evenings
Her shadow stretched clear to the highway
While mine barely crossed the yard

I usually went in first and
She stayed to listen
To pleading frogs
I’d read in my room
As she finished in the kitchen
I never went to help
Heard only
The splash of hands
In dishwater
That’s the buffer

When she was finished
She went to bed
I’d wander the house later
The night so quiet
All I heard was breathing

On the day she died
I mistook the sound of the ventilator
For her voice
Thought she heard me on the phone
Until my sister said
She’s gone

East Highway – Kenora

Highway 17 east
Lakes campgrounds resorts
Home to those
Who considered Kenora
Angular and crowded

Summer nights brought
A dirge of frogs behind our house
My mother pulled the curtains
Turned up the radio

A canoe skimmed the bay
Practiced strokes of a paddle
Barely echoed on glassy water

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Comments
  1. Karen Fuchs says:

    what beautiful poetry , you express your deep love and loss through you words and creative words . You must miss you Mom very much ! sorry for your loss . May she be in peace and be watching over you . X

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