A poem I wrote (I’m not a poet) but here goes…

Selfies at Age Sixty

 

My mother lives inside my skin

In the mirror, her smile cracks across my face, above

her chin,

soft jowls that started sagging at my

fifty-eighth year, but the only way I remember her chin,

the wrinkles that frame her lips under

my skin all disappear in the wide open smile

so I smile

and smile in

A world of selfies that Mom would have eschewed.

 

Why do you cover your mouth, your hand

across your smile? I ask her, studying her face in the mirror,

my own peering back, hers long buried.

I look so goofy, she says across the years, as she said

long ago. My mouth is

so big. A crater on my face when I laugh.

No! I cry. Your smile is beautiful, isn’t it? Is my smile goofy?

No, she insists from beyond the grave. Not yours. Only mine.

The same, I say.

She shakes her head, her hand

Across her mouth.

 

I know the day in high school I saw myself laughing in the mirror

And saw my mother’s face,

covered my mouth, that smile too big. I understood

and started putting my hand over my laughter,

too.

A legacy.

I catch myself laughing,

My hand gone to

My mouth like

A tic.

 

But now,

But now,

I wear purple* and smile

And laugh,

Mouth wide open,

with Mom, move my hand

from my mouth

to my phone,

and all my selfies

are of both of us.

 

*”When I am an Old Woman, I Shall Wear Purple,” by Jenny Joseph

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