My Mother’s House



(for Diva)


You can tell it is a house

where someone forgets

by the way it is kept.


The way the dust piles up

to traverse the sunlight.

The way the paint crumbles, then fades.


The way the letters go unanswered,

get mixed up with old bills

crammed into drawers.


My mother’s house disappeared

before she left it.

It vanished in stages


gradually as the vines

overgrew the walls,

tore apart the foundation.


She left a house untended,

disheveled as her memories

falling down the well of dementia.


Can a vacant house forget its owner?

Forget as she forgot how to sign her name?

Forget as she forgot how to speak mine?


Her last recognition of me before she died

was voiced in Portuguese.  “Agua” she said,

but couldn’t swallow it.  Neither could I.


How does one turn the house over

to strangers who will water their new lawn

while my own tears continue to flow?


How does a daughter dust off

a photograph of someone she loved

so much and call it enough?


~ by dianeklammer on February 25, 2013.

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