Just Keep Doing Your Thing 


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

into itself

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.