Saturday, August 10, 2013

Reflections: My mother's daughter


Reflections, I have two: one is rasin
and the other is honey. One, has a prominent,
but straight nose. The other has a flat, wide one.
They both have broad backs and paws for hands
like me. They are mine.

Of course, the obvious is when they open their mouths.

“Mommy, I got this.”

“Ma, I told you. Nobody would listen.”

Then there is me. I feel my mouth moving,
but who I hear is her telling my children
lessons they tune out, fears I have for them,
things I'm certain they'll forget until they startle me,
spouting off something I said years before.

I see her. I see her most when I'm at odd with them.
I am her,young and unsure not old enough to direct
my own path; older, but not wise to remember I can't
direct theirs.

I forget the truth about mother and daughters:
We are tangled vines. We are seasoned by hurts and wrongs.
We grow outwards until we don't, until we are mothers
seeking roots we once threatened to sever.

I am my mother's daughter.
When I look at them, I see me.
When I hurt or feel loss, when I am
disconnected, I listen for her. I reach for her.
I am her, my mother's daughter.





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20 comments:

  1. As a mother of two daughters this poem just resonates with me. The differences and similarities boggle the mind, as does that long chain of women: grandmother - mother - daughter - grand-daughter... and each a refinement of the same patterns.

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    1. Kerry, my mother and I are so much closer now. Talk about empathy and bond and understanding. I'm grateful we got there. So many mothers and daughters never realize or experience a shared garden.

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  2. Your voice is *yours*, LaTonya, in every write, even when you pen fiction, you don't cast shadows over your characters - and here, in the open, you pen with your internal rhythm - and it's audible, that concordance.

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    1. Friend, your comments are worth the effort. Thank you. :-)

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  3. I have two daughters...I thought there would never be any part of my like my mother, but she is in me and comes out. There are times it is good others I wish I had kept my silence. Now I see me in my girls, saying what they swore they would never say. They have me in them, but they have blossomed into beautiful, intelligent women who stand on their own. Thank you so much for this beautiful piece. Your mirror resonated powerfully with me.

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  4. LaTonya, I and my mom were best friends. Maybe too close, as I was her confidante from age 6, but I would not trade all the fun, the card games, the coffee, the stories, for gold. I'm glad you still have your mom... Although Charlotte died over 20 years ago, she is as present to me as ever. It's like the African belief that ancestors are there to guide you - she and Grandma Blanche continue to flavor my life.

    Love this, and you know why. Amy

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  5. I know, I feel this very much ~

    Love this part best:

    We are tangled vines. We are seasoned by hurts and wrongs.
    We grow outwards until we don't, until we are mothers
    seeking roots we once threatened to sever.

    And I think, I am growing old just like her ~

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  6. Oh yes, tangled vines...absolutely. My mother and I certainly had our moments, but years before she died we grew close again. Now I find myself saying things she used to say, doing things she used to do, and when I look into a mirror, I see my mother and HER mother...they're both there, in my mirror.
    K

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  7. You really make the love and the struggle real, LaTonya. I know there is plenty(too much) of my never-satisfied, not very wise mother in me, but I always rejoice when I see those who have that wonderful connection you speak of here, that tangles and chokes and finally comes free and blossoms. A perfect take on the mirrors theme.

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  8. This rings so true. There's so much we don't understand until we become mothers, and then we're floored by our own mother's wisdom, and question our own. And then the tables turn and we're caring for our mothers, and feel so grateful we paid attention and learned, so we can give back.

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  9. Oh wow this poem really touched me, I have goosebumps. Gorgeous LaTonya. I definitely find that I have some similarities to my mother though in many respects we are quite different. I was raised by my grandmother mostly and I remember how she would listen to me with such undivided attention neither my mom nor my grandmother were ever very judgmental of me. I hope I will listen to my own daughter with an open mind as well. The new prompt is up =)

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  10. smiles...very nice...its funny how when young we dont want to hear it from them, but we do and like your own kids the lessons come back when we need them...next to last stanza is my fav...it has nice energy....already read your poets united poem this week so thought i would jump ahead...

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    1. Might edit over time. This one spilled out. Hung out with Mister yesterday so I'll be catching up at your place and a few other friends today. Thank you.

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  11. You brought your family's connections to life so vividly here, LaTonya. I don't have a daughter, though I always wanted one. But I have a son, so I do know much of this, though not all. My mother and I have had a very rocky relationship, and I recently went a year and a half with no contact with her at all, by choice. And yet, when I look in the mirror, I see some of her. When I open my mouth, sometimes, I hear some of her. We are very different, and yet also more alike than I ever expected.

    I wrote a poem about it, if you're interested:

    http://fireblossom-wordgarden.blogspot.com/2008/10/she-says.html

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    1. You know I'm interested. There's plenty of difference between me and my mother. It's discovering how we are alike is what I hadn't expected.

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  12. Beautiful LaTonya...just beautiful.

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  13. Oh, this made me miss my mother intensely. And it made me love my daughter even more (if that is possible). This had an honest, pureness to it that sings. Glorious writing, LaTonya.

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  14. This breaks my heart. Wow. Such a powerful connection and so authentic. The dialogue within is a great tool. Very well done, thank you so much for sharing!

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  15. hey you...its been a week...
    just checking in to make sure you are ok...

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This is an interactive site. Dialogue is the aim here. latonya.blackandgray(at)gmail (dot)com

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I know what I think. I write to hear what you think. Let's talk about it.