My mother smiles, smears her mascara,
and reads the inscription below us.
“Just keep doing your thing.”
As I bend down to brush a small patch of dirt
away from the little stone
covering my grandmother’s grave,
I’m relieved to know, I think,
that she thought more of us
than of herself
as her mind was inverting
and our bodies fluffed and flourished.
Seeing her grave makes me remember
when she was bedridden
and me, so eager, running in to see her
with my hair ties pulling down my ponytails
in a four-year-old tomboy stupor,
and we played Dominoes.
As I think back on what little
of her life I can recall
all the small moments are patched together,
weaving through tall blades of grass
like a serpent on its belly
tempting me to forget.
Originally appeared in Connecticut Review.
Rebecca O’Bern's work has appeared in Storm Cellar, Hartskill Review, South 85 Journal, Blue Monday Review, Connecticut Review, Helix Magazine, and elsewhere. A recipient of the Leslie Leeds Poetry Prize, she's also received honors from Connecticut Poetry Society, Arts Café Mystic, and UCONN. She's a graduate of the MFA Program at Southern Connecticut State University and currently serves as associate poetry editor at Mud Season Review. Find her on Twitter @rebeccaobern.