Tuesday, November 20, 2007



Messages from my mother
No matter when delivered
seem forever
etched in my mind
Keep your skirts down
Pants up
Shoes on
Feet on the floor
Little ladies don’t sit like that

I was Daddy’s little girl
Seldom lady like
Forever barefoot
Often up a tree
Willful brat
Mom would say
Stubbornness will get you nowhere
Don’t talk back
Little pictures should be seen
not heard

Doesn’t use time wisely
Runs with scissors
Sit up straight
pay attention
I am talking to you
Why can’t you just be
More of a young lady
Go brush your hair
You shouldn’t read in the dark

Too independent to submit
Legs always curled up on the couch
Not crossed daintily at the ankle
Dad’s helper in his wood shop
Hair never curled
Always standing pigeon-toed
Suck your stomach in
Back straight
Your butt is too big
Escaping from the house
Her ever watchful gaze
In jeans and a sweatshirt
with no bra
Often no shoes.

Off to college
to snare the right mate
I had such different goals
Maybe to end the war
March for free speech
Get educated
Not my MRS
But a BA
You could get a date if you weren’t so smart
Can’t you just play dumb
Study in the law library

You are so like your Mother
Dad said one day
I was on vacation from college
Sprawled on the floor
With books all around
Going to ruin your eyes, kiddo
He switched on the light
Illuminating my shoes
under the coffee table
not far from Mom’s
She stood barefoot in the kitchen

I love you
Her phone message said
We were a family of I love you’s
But I always said them first
I love you too
She had said that Thanksgiving morning
I had called as prescribed
The dutiful daughter at last
I would call her back tomorrow
To say I love you too
Tomorrow would be too late

(c) J. Binford-Bell 2007

My mother, Mary LaVerne Hilderbrand Binford, died on Thanksgiving day almost two decades ago an hour before she left the phone message. This is my way of saying, despite our many differences (and those overlooked similarities), I loved you too.

For more Poetry Wednesday posts see our hostess Sans Souci