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Reflections on my Mother Becoming a Grandmother

Poem by Dakota Parks

Published by Troubadour, 2020

I can feel her aging
her eyes wrinkled with crows feet
years of experience:
raising children,
opening businesses,
breaking horses and men alike.

The black birds walking across her face
with every smile
every rush to crisis resolution
every word of affirmation
every “love you, see you, bye”
squeezed into mud rooms and parking lots
my mother; she raised a rebel
a wordsmith, on accident
—she didn’t believe in soap

I often wonder, how the absence
of soap suds on my tongue
might have shaped
my desire to write
travel, learn, soak in endless knowledge
or choose
even my own bed partners

She smells differently these days,
my mother.
the sweat of labor
soaked into her pores
bursting bubbles of bath water
the scent of
constant breadwinning,
struggling to give her children
more than she ever had
is different now

A wave of saltwater
crashing against a breath of fresh air
she has done it—
every mother’s dream—
watching her daughters
marry, succeed, adopt careers, aspirations:
a grandchild growing
in my sister’s round belly.

No doubt,
she will continue to etch
those lines of wisdom
across her tender cheek
reassuring me that
aging is just another form of
maternal metamorphosis.

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