My mother’s memory fills an airy portion of her mind.
From where she was first kansas, buttoned up and sleeveless
green and gold like the swirled pattern of her mother’s couch.
The one she bought before she knew she would lay out her life
in an unadjusted hospital bed with three uncertain children
peering through the doors and finding it hard not to focus on the
tubes and tape and papery sheets. And with a husband half-relieved
to spend the day drinking soda from a red plastic cup made to look like
stained glass, sitting on a green and gold sofa and watching a black and white
television program he will never admit to seeing.
It takes her through portions of her life where she was angled and squared
like a paper doll made to stand with her shoulders back and her hands on her hips
remembering a green barrette against her blonde hair and then forgetting it back out again. Remembering a stripy swimsuit against an ocean backdrop and then Elvis and then a rotary phone mounted to a papered kitchen wall and then herself again correctively never a blonde. Remembering Mary Tyler Moore and dancing outside of a movie theatre with wild eyes and without rhythm. Someone told her then that she didn’t dance well so she never did again, forgetting that she never did at all because, for every time to dance there was a Baptist potluck, or a brother dying with everything but his 5th birthday’s cognac wallet that she would save up til and during any good reason to save it, or a bad pair of shoes.
It brings her through the times she watched her roommates marry like she was a only spectator of a parade she had meant to join but her Bible was rusty and she didn’t have a car or a distinguishing feature or kansas anymore. It stirs up the corner-settled parts of her mind and, like leaves and grass, she remembers her romantic prairie life, vanilla and innocent, being rustled into a frenzy by a brazen and charismatic charmer until the leaves have time to settle and the grass finds its way back to the sultry summary of the romance novel she remembered herself into.
My mother’s memory, unconcerned with its role or its boundaries, is a flighty pot-stirrer that, for lapses at a time, abandons her entirely and for those same lapses, I am remembering her wedding day like it was my velvet carpet, mustard pews, and calvary guitarist. And as I spend long nights remembering the air-raid drills of her mother’s memory, and she is busy remembering the spicy arizona novembers of my someday daughter.