Mother, I remember

Mother, I remember
The texture of the skin on your face.
The scent of your perfume before you left the house.
The bedding with the frills and the tiny green flowers.
The way you (still) sit down to dinner with a smile.
Days under the lemon tree,
The smell of the citrus leaves.
Your presence, and your absence.
The way your face changed after you put makeup on.
Your sigh whenever you returned home,
and said ‘cup of tea time’
half a dozen times a day.
I remember
Your love of bread.
Your different haircuts.
Your endless support and organization.
Going to the mall after dinner on Thursdays
with me, the edge of thirteen,
and buying the expensive jeans that I loved.
Picking me up from drama class after dark,
and coming home to eat leftovers while we watched
new episodes of the Naked Chef and home renovations.
I remember
the steaming pork buns from Chinatown,
and the jam donuts you would bring us in white paper bags
in the car after school, before the trips to IKEA,
the grocery store, the bank,
reaching for the paper at the ATM,
wandering the aisles choosing any flavored milk.
running down the corridors at the hospital you worked in
hurtling towards the cafeteria with its endless free cookies.
I remember
asking you for a razor to shave my legs with,
and a sports bra when all the girls at school wore them.
I remember the way you handed me a box of tampons for the first time,
and the incredible birthday celebrations you would throw us.
The way you set the breakfast table the night before,
and covered the table with gifts.
I remember the only time I saw you cry, really cry,
when your uncle passed away.
I remember the smell of the gin and tonic
you would drink with our dad after work,
and the little crystal glass of sherry
in the blue bottle that you
poured for yourself while making dinner.
I remember watching you chop garlic.
I remember watching you chop onion.
I remember watching you stir pots and
wash dishes and fold laundry and carry
groceries and I remember the way you
insisted on being independent, and capable
and making the most of what we had, and
turning everything into gold. I remember
the giant buddha head in the back of the
car one day after you picked us up from school
I remember
crawling into your bed when I was
a child, and the scent of
your breath in the night.

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