To my mother
I imagine that before my mother was a woman, she must have been a girl.
It's an odd thing, this imagining.
My mother was once an unfinished human,
A work in progress
So shamelessly flawed in the ways only young people manage to be
Dramatic and sloppy and selfish,
Messy hair and bright, laughing eyes
Scraped knees and ripped jeans and chipped fingernail polish
And to think of the hundreds of memories
Stacked behind her eyes like glossy polaroids
Stocking feet swinging through air heavy with the seduction of some half-forgotten summer
Skirt blooming like a flower as she spun and spun and spun
Names and rooftops I would not recognize
Sadness and elation and loneliness and comfort.
And I wonder what smell sends my mother spinning into nostalgia
What song reminds her of when she was only a girl in a world that was huge and ripe and unknowable
I hope my mother ran through the rain
I hope she sang at the top of her lungs
And I hope wore her favorite shoes and kissed the boy she liked and hogged the phone and lay on the floor of her best friend’s room and filled her palms with flower petals and tilted her head up to the wide sheet of impossibly blue sky, the same sky I see when I look up, even all these years later.
I wonder if we would have been friends,
My mother and I.
From a daughter