Friday, June 06, 2008

Memory By Judith Harris

Memory by Judith Harris was published in Slate a few days ago. It is a very appropriate poem for this time of year when we remember, thank and cherish our mothers.

So simple,
my mother,
home from the stenographer's pool,
starlings dangling like keys
over the rooftops,

the late hour pulling us in
like a magnet,
the moon baying,
the solitaire train of cards.

Nothing could budge us
from our own little island,
our own little cushions,
where we stayed,
eating tuna sandwiches,

just her and me,
floating on TV laughter,
her hand clasped over mine
like a first date's.

I could be that mother turning home from work at day's end, sitting on our couch eating a dinner that was cooked without a great deal of planning. J and I happy to be together and just that - it does not take a lot more than that to make our day. The moment is quite pedestrian while it happens - watching TV while eating tuna sandwiches but its value increases over time until it becomes worthy of poetic reminiscence.

Recently, someone I thought was a friend commented "It is good for mother and child to be close, but J sticks to you like glue. That's unhealthy. You need to ask her doctor what's going on". Needless to say, I was extremely hurt by that. The child does not have any family in the same continent, has no memory of a father and hungers to be with her grandparents.

All she's had in the six years of her life is me - the one constant amid many changes. If I were in her shoes, I would have stuck to my mother like Caulobacter crescentus cementing itself to a rock. Harris's poem helps me feel positive about the bond J and I share and the bond I share with my own mother - maybe a little too gluey by some standards but clearly not by all.


Priyamvada_K said...

Dear HC,
Wanted to post a comment, but became too lengthy. Please check your email.


ggop said...

Aww. Your friend's comment was insensitive.

Anonymous said...

Very nice post. Have linked you, coz of something similar.
As for the gluey comment, perhaps you use the famous line - Fevicol ka jod hai, tootega nahin! :D


Anonymous said...

oops - that should read "perhaps you can use the famous line..."