Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood

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I place the phone on the bed,
press "speaker" and open
the first drawer of the dresser.
These are the dregs of her life;
she took the useful
and sentimental
years ago.

I’ve got an orange skirt
with green trim
and a large brown leaf
sewn near the hem.
Size eight. 
     Toss it, her reply.

I remember for an instant
the day we bought that skirt,
her flair for dresses
and feminine things. All
her contradictions.
I’m holding a grey T-shirt,
v-neck, size six. 
The shirt smells of her.
I am pressing it to my face
when I hear her voice.

     Keep it. I sleep in that
     when I’m home.

I lift another piece,
a white wrinkled mess,
speak to my daughter,
two thousand miles away,
await her decision.

For two hours,
as the sun increasingly lights
the morning
we deconstruct
the remains of her room.
The dresser and closet
emptier than empty.

It is this diminishing
inventory of her sizes and tastes
that forces me
to the end of her childhood.
I pass the trappings
to strangers.

Cathy Barber’s poetry has been published in Up The River Journal, The Rio Grande Review, Pearl, and the Cancer Poetry Project 2. She is a past president of the board of California Poets in the Schools and a current member of the advisory board.  In addition to poetry, Ms. Barber writes a blog, Is It Just Me. Links to more of her poetry can be found on her website. She has a MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

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Just found this website and loved your poem! I can easily remember similar scenarios with my now grown daughter. Even though she is 29 and married, I still keep a favorite pink robe hanging in a closet....along with all the sweet memories of her in it!
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