Archive for September 14th, 2014

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Ballade for Motherless Daughters by Allison Joseph

—for Brett

We wake at night, scan picture frames
to keep her face in memory,
that countenance always the same
in photos of shared history,
a past from which our futures flee,
a future that’s exempt from her.
Time rushes us, until we’ll be
much older than our mothers ever were.

Her face, her smile—both make their claim.
See how our features still agree?
Some days, that grief cannot be tamed,
it rides your tongue, won’t shake you free,
despite long baths, some good chablis.
Her loss will always reoccur,
despite new cars, advanced degrees.
Much older than our mothers ever were,

we’ll tell our daughters how they got their names,
their grandmothers alive in legacy.
Our sons will know just what she overcame.
To fill blank space on a family tree,
we’ll speak her name aloud, and reverently
remember words she said, songs she preferred.
We’ll touch those photographs, though we’ll soon be
much older than our mothers ever were.

We speak from knowing grief’s agility;
with elegies, we’ve grown to be secure.
Each day’s a test of our abilities,
much older than our mothers ever were.


Date: 2014

By: Allison Joseph (1967- )