Love Poem for My Mother | Patricia Aya Williams
Any more dead rats in the backyard?
Not this week, Mom
but you’ll be the first to know.
Easy now. Smooth game of catch. The topic a handle
we both can grasp.
Are we learning? Or just tired of fraught?
Tellings over the years—
her tragic youth, my father
who died young,
how I am American and can therefore do anything I set my mind to.
Always her voice from the trenches,
rifle rising, taking aim:
life isn’t easy, you know
good isn’t good enough
I’m the only one can tell you this
Was I the enemy? Was she?
Who waved the white flag first?
Did we agree to forgo, forgive?
Lately she likes to tell me about the footlong orange centipedes
of her wartime childhood—how
on the ceiling, glowing, in the dark…
Patricia Aya Williams is a Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Prize recipient and Steve Kowit Poetry Prize finalist. Her work has appeared or will soon appear in Santa Clara Review, San Diego Poetry Annual, Writers Resist, Origami Poems Project, and The Closed Eye Open. She is a graduate of the Poetry Certificate Program at San Diego Writers, Ink, and a 2022 Pushcart nominee.