Left

Linfield college wellness trail grass sunbeam Oregon

Like the summer, the tide, and the Wi-Fi in Grandpa’s Big Bear cabin,

Mama would always come back.

She left at times

And then the leaves would fade and fall upon the parched ground thirsting for her Birkenstock footsteps

But I didn’t mind; the winter gave me some time to meditate

And always, always, Mama would come back.

The open window, indiscriminately inviting even the chilliest winds

Gave away her presence,

The sacked-out Patagonia backpack full of adventure gear and Thin Mints

Signified her passing.

If summer happened to coincide

With me, I’d warm my fingers in that candlelight

But never did I dare remove my earmuffs or my galoshes

For I knew down in the pit of me

Mama would always leave again

But I knew in the apricot flesh of my tentative heart

Mama would always come back.

Linfield college gym winter trees

One day, she brought her friend, a sultry July storm

Raining spears like suicide bombers on my naked neck

Cracking our secret firelight and leaving the eggshells on the floor for me to vacuum

While they were at a party.

I didn’t see Mama that night

But I didn’t fret.

Mama would always come back.

And Mama was back come morning,

Bruised and waterlogged from the July storm

Whose name I never thought to ask

Or she never chose to mention

So I took the cloth she’d once baptized with my first tears

And wrapped her like a convalescent butterfly

And by the time her friend the Santa Ana passed along

She was drying the last droplets off her new wings

And only I knew that they weren’t diamonds, only salt.

McMinnville cracked sidewalk fall leaves moss

Mama went to play that day.

Mama came back.

Mama always, always, always did come back.

Until this sudden day, ripped out of the calendar by some vicious owl destroying a blue jay’s nest

The eggshells scatter on the ground; my feet are numb and I can’t walk

And she disappears into the winter mist with her father the Mountain Chain

Of course the rain comes, trained to kill with Kamikaze attacks on my bare shoulders

The invisible membrane around me stops the drops from reaching my skin

I am invincible

Untouchable

I cannot cry

Until the last speck of her is gone

And now my eyes are drowning in some fermented blood that smells of wine and tastes of a lost appetite and stings with the whip of every leather insult i ever spat of her

And i cannot swim to shore this time

The Santa Ana is at a Sorority bid

The July storm is on a drug run

Mama will always come back

Come back

come back…?
small pink flower McMinnville Oregon

All photos in this post were taken by Anne Seaworthy in McMinnville, Oregon.

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