Hello–This is Betty’s post.  Betty is the name my mother, Blima, assumed when she came to America.  She is the Betty you know from my book, My Mother’s Shoes, but for me she was simply “Mommy.”  I suppose for those of you who didn’t know her, that says it all.  If you were lucky to have a mother like mine, then you know…There is so much I can tell you about Betty–the difficulties she had as a “greenhorn” immigrant, the emotional contradictions she felt living with a man who had lost it all, and had only her, the need to protect her children, something even more powerful than a maternal need, something unnameable, the disease which robbed her of it all.  But for now, I leave you with one last poem, the poem that haunts me still.

BETTY

 

Silent as a sunbeam

You come when I am sipping coffee

You slip through my open window

How many years?  How many years?

 

You come when I am sipping coffee

You come when I am at the mirror

How many years? How many years?

Your hand a veil brushing back my hair

 

You come when I am at the mirror

Pushing my way through a crowd

Your hand a veil brushing back my hair

I feel your arm weaving through mine

 

Pushing my way through a crowd

Driving alone I turn on the music

I feel your arm weaving through mine

And hear your laughter echo,

stirring melody like a golden spoon

 

Driving alone I turn on the music

When I pray you whisper at my ear

And hear your laughter echo

stirring melody like a golden spoon

When I dream it is your face which flickers

across my eyes

 

When I pray you whisper at my ear

This world offers no escape, no exit sign, no secret door

When I dream it is your face which flickers

across my eyes

For you come sometimes even in my smile, my voice

 

This world offers no escape, no exit sign, no secret door

I turn and write a poem, a word, words

For you come sometimes even in my smile, my voice

And I am afraid to linger in the moment

 

 

I turn and write a poem, a word, words

Gratitude is no longer mine to keep

And I am afraid to linger in the moment

All sent in sighs, flowers at the doorstep

 

Gratitude is no longer mine to keep

Silent as a sunbeam

All sent in sighs, flowers at the doorstep

You slip through my open window.