Read by Shawna Monson
Audio from Poetry Foundation
I want to tell myself she is not you,
this sullen woman wearing Mama’s eyes
all wrong, whose every gesture rings untrue
and yet familiar. In your harsh disguise
I sometimes need to find you, sometimes fear
I will, if I look closely into her.
I want to tell myself you are not here,
trapped in this parody of what you were,
but love was never safe: it lives on danger,
finds what can’t be found by any other
power on Earth or over it. This stranger
is you, is all the you there is, my mother
whose gentler face is gone beyond recall,
and I must love you so, or not at all.