Poem: A National Geographic Article Helped Me Understand My Mother | Poetry | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram

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Poem: A National Geographic Article Helped Me Understand My Mother

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After her husband left and her mother passed
there were more nights where I tucked

her in instead of the other way around.
More nights where I put her wine away,

I ashed her cigarette and I turned David Gray
down or the TV off. Some nights

I checked her pulse. The article
listed the animals

that practice what we call monogamy
or normalcy, but I saw only a few

birds: a bald eagle, a black vulture.
There were only a few

mammals: a gray wolf, a beaver.
It occurred to me to reconsider her.

Maybe my mom
wasn’t like other moms

and maybe she wasn’t like me or like you.
I’d known her to be a lot of things

but never an eagle
and only booze made her a vulture.

She was no wolf
and no beaver

and despite her best effort,
could be no housewife either.





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