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TOWARDS AUTUMN / Marilyn Hacker Mid-September, and I miss my daughter. I sit out on the terrace with my friend, talking, with morning tea, coffee, and bread, about another woman, and her mother, who survived heroism; her lover who will have to. I surprise myself with language; lacking it, don't like myself much. I owe a letter to my daughter. Thinking of her's like thinking of a lover I hope will someday grow to be a friend. I missed the words to make friends with my mother. I pull the long knife through the mound of bread, spoon my slice with cherry preserves, the bread chewy as meat beneath, remind myself I've errands for our ancient patron, mother of dramas, hard mother to a daughter twenty years my senior, who is my friend, who lives in exile with a woman lover also my friend, three miles from here. A lover of good bread, my (present) friend leaves this bread and marmalades biscottes. To have a friend a generation older than myself is sometimes like a letter for my daughter to read, when she can read: What your mother left undone, women who are not your mother may do. Women who are not your lover love you. (That's to myself, and my daughter.) We take coffee—and teapot, mugs, jam jars, bread inside, wash up. I've work, hours by myself. Beyond the kitchen, in her room, my friend writes, overlooking the same hills. Be'friend yourself: I couldn't have known to tell my mother that, unless I'd learned it for myself. Until I do. Friendship is earned. A lover leaps into faith. Earthbound women share bread; 32 ¦ The Missouri Review make; do. Cherry compote would please my daughter. My daughter was born hero to her mother; found, like a lover, flawed; found, like a friend, faithful as bread I'd learn to make myself. Marilyn Hacker The Missouri Review · 33 ...


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pp. 32-33
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