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I told her she was the perfect mom. This was when she tried to pull the tubes from her arms, the gloves from her hands. One of the nurses said, “Oh, she’s a fighter.” She was biting furiously on the plastic tube in her mouth. When they took it out, she was determined, in a slurred speech, to speak to me. Become—beautiful woman—love—she was breathless, persistent, drunk with medication, my mother dying.
I am driving on a strip of land, far tip of the Cape, leaving Provincetown. It’s the summer after mom died. Outside my open window, white gorgeous sand dunes.
Is this my late praise? Is this longing? Mom turns to sand. She becomes my mother. No edges.
Nancy Bryan teaches creative writing at Brookdale Community College in New Jersey. Her writing and artwork has been published in various journals including Calyx, Cortland Review, and The Comstock Review. Her first book of poems, The Blue Lantern, appeared in 2019. Nancy lives with her two dogs in Fair Haven, N.J. www.nancysbryan.com
"Woman" was originally published in The Waking on May 21, 2020.
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