Do not ask me to consider
raising my mother to the level of saint.

I am sure there were significant amounts
of martyrdom, being an early twentieth century woman.

But I have no desire to open
my grave memories of her

for you and others to claim finger bones
or locks of hair for your reliquaries.

Why aren’t your coming of age memories of my mother
enough to maintain her in your mindfulness?

Why do you not understand how Richard’s death
and her miscarriages affected her?

The earth can absorb her full history.
The salt of her humanity rise in trees.

copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney


My mother passed away in 2001. I remember the funeral and the greeting line post funeral. Over three hundred people attended. Many, maybe most, were women who my mother had mentored through Girl Scouts. There experience of her was very different than mine. I remember the gush of their praise of her to me.

My mother’s ashes were spread among the trees at a Girl Scout camp that she attended each year as a leader.

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