- My mother is thinking about dying
and I, middle aged, am too.We are both annoyedby the difficulty.
The process includes rehabbanana pie,which shirt she worethe day she fell.The red one, I insist,you've been here four days.
When I was ten, she trusted meto find the misplaced wordsin the news articles she soldfor ten cents an inch,making big storiesout of smalltown happenings.
Now she disagreesabout the shirt,says go to hell!
It's not because she's losingher mindmy partner says,but because I'm holdingher too tight.Let it go, says shewho's already losther parents. [End Page 185]
But I want my motherto confesshow many daysshe's been in rehab,which shirt she worethe day she fell,return to detailswe can agree on.
And what itshould I let go of anyway?My mother as she was?Me being right?Or where, perhapsthe bigger question,to go?
What do I have to hold,if not her red shirtwith the little buttonsdown the front,washed and foldednow beside the bed,that my mother patslike an old friend? [End Page 186]
Catharine Wright is an eighth generation Vermonter who teaches Writing and Rhetoric and Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies at Middlebury College. She has earned several writing prizes and has published short fiction, poems and essays in magazines such as Blue Mesa Review, Negative Capability Journal, Hurricane Alice, Narrative Northeast, Studio Potter and The Feminist Wire. She is co-author of an oral history, Vermonters at Their Crafts (New England Press), and co-editor of an essay collection, Social Justice Education (Stylus Press). She learned much of what she knows about writing from her prolific, feminist, writer mother and from her students.