ANATOMY OF A UNIVERSE

by Cathy Arden on January 27, 2015

Mom, Doren and me at camp

 

My mother died today.  I wrote this for her when I was 27 years old.  It hung on her wall for all these years, framed with photos of the two of us, and of my sister.  Today we needed to let each other go.  And we did in an embrace.  I love you, Mom.  Forever.

Anatomy of a Universe
for my Mother
October 18,1923-January 27, 2015

What really did I know then
about the knowledge of flesh
the difference between mine and yours

I knew of bones
the way mine protruded at angles
I was sure were dangerous

No matter how cautiously I moved
through the house
my body would bump into the edges of furniture

I learned all there was to know
about the scraping of bones
and the ache afterwards

I recognized you by your flesh
blue rivers close to the surface
just like mine
I could put my hand up against yours
and know
where I would always belong
a place where I would always be permitted
entry
the proof was the perfect
match of flesh against flesh

The difference
I thought
was in bones

There was something beyond comprehension
in the grace and power of your arms
that folded naturally
around my frailness
creating an embrace that could
hold me steady, rooted
or lift me to wherever I wanted to go

Hand over hand
I climbed you as a braver child
might climb a tree
resting brittle bones in the fold of your limbs
I could move, without moving,
if you moved
examine the geography of sharp corners below
without fear of collision

I am in the position now
of wanting to describe to you
the extension of my limbs
how my arms now have the power of embrace
my legs the courage of movement

My bones are rounded
they have joints
I ask them to bend
and they do

I climb the terrain
of my own body
it accepts the challenge
of exploration in a new universe

The geography of this separation
and emergence
might be unfamiliar to you
but if you put your hand up against mine
you will know
a place where you will always belong
a place where you will always be permitted entry

The woman you are facing
you will surely recognize

I offer you myself
a place you can return to

 

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Ellis Amburn January 28, 2015 at 1:29 AM

Thank you, dear Cathy. Beautiful and appropriate beyond words is your elegiac evocation of Sherry: “the grace and power of your arms
that folded naturally around my frailness.”

Reply

Iris January 28, 2015 at 6:30 AM

Thinking of you and your empty arms, which now embrace your angels in their ephemeral beauty.

Reply

Lisa January 28, 2015 at 7:06 AM

This is so beautiful. I don’t know what to say. I’m crying. I really loved your amazing mother. I never told you this but I wanted her to be my mother too.

Reply

Barbara January 28, 2015 at 8:02 AM

Beautiful, eloquent, poignant, a fitting and lasting tribute to your mom. May she rest in peace. Sending you much love.

Reply

Steve Howard January 28, 2015 at 9:13 AM

Farewell Sherry – I knew you only as a smiling remnant of a powerful and intelligent woman – but, I loved your smile; it made me feel welcome.

Steve

Reply

Stephanie January 28, 2015 at 9:46 AM

Breathtaking!

Reply

Tziporah Salamon January 28, 2015 at 11:06 AM

So utterly beautiful, dear Cathy. As are you, as was your dear mother.

Reply

Lisa January 28, 2015 at 6:30 PM

This is so beautiful. I don’t know what to say. I’m crying. I really loved your amazing mother. I never told you this but I wanted her to be my mother too.

Reply

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