My mother’s name was Hyacinth. And so on this day, a remembrance of this complicated, beloved woman…
My Mother’s Hand
My mother’s hand was full of diamonds –
rings strewn carelessly on her bureau
in a china dish my father found in an antique shop
in East Baltimore.
She never wore a wedding ring,
at least not that I remember.
She spoke of a ring my father gave her,
before they married,
inexpensive, a black onyx with a diamond chip.
Her mother made her return it,
but they eloped instead.
Such children, an onyx ring.
I wore it for a while,
then lost it.
I wear a similar ring now, expensive, designer,
I see her, him,
my high school self.
My mother’s hand, full of diamonds,
never held a cooking spoon or a baby bottle,
but a pen, a beautiful script,
and shorthand, the Gregg method.
or perhaps only some writings now and then,
her way of keeping her secrets.
She taught me to write my name that way.
I looked for it in her writings.
It wasn’t there.
My mother’s hand –
Alexander’s Ragtime Band, Chicago,
I only play in the key of C she would say.
but she sent me to Peabody.
I can play in any key, yet don’t have her touch, her spirit.
The last time she played,
her fingers, her muscle memory, not failing her,
diamonds still on her fingers.
Hands less beautiful in time,
jewels removed in the nursing home,
to keep them safe, they said.
She didn’t miss them,
she, with her manicure each week
to the very end.
Don’t grieve when I go, she said.
I’ve had a wonderful life.
**** **** ****
This poem is part of my chapbook, PortraitS. If you care to, you can read more by going to my website: cynthiastrauff.com