For My Mother, Who Always Wears Blue


For My Mother, Who Always Wears Blue

You insist on blue
even when all your azures
are in the wash
and all you can find
is one of his old ties,
which you knot about your waist as if it were a sash and not
an amulet,
in the same way that you wrapped,
after unwrapping,
the foil robin shell around his Easter egg
a whole year afterwards,
pondering what to do with it frozen,
the chocolate marled
like a cataract blind
to aluminated sky, isoceles crimped
to cirrus,
because he’d enjoyed it so
a couple bites a time, nights,
savoring small sweetnesses–

Though your blues harbor luck.
It’s the kind that’s found even
through the cracks of loss,
like stripes in frayed
silk, and that pale Prussian that mirrors ‘up’
around the ice floes
just there, outside the window of this train,
my arms warmed, as I look,
by navy sleeves.

Here’s a poem for the poetics prompt by Abhra Pal posted in honor of the Indian festival of Holi, about imagining coloring people, at (My “linker” not working.)

Also, this is a picture outside my train window looking out over the Hudson River, but it is not a picture taken today, and it doesn’t really show the fragmented ice floes now there.

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19 Comments on “For My Mother, Who Always Wears Blue”

  1. Brian Miller Says:

    so you wear blue now as well?
    and your father passed. it is interesting the connections we make after loss…i found the wrapping of the egg in foil for the year after quite evocative…its the little things…the blue too…

  2. kaykuala Says:

    because he’d enjoyed it so
    a couple bites a time, nights,
    savoring small sweetnesses

    The joy of eating so fulfills the natural urge of survival. More so when shared nights with someone dear to oneself. Your take is so fulfilling K!


  3. claudia Says:

    that is very moving k. – if you love someone so much that you wanna wear their colors when they’re gone… for me there is such a tenderness in this..

  4. The way you describe the tie and the foil and chocolate kept tells more of the story of loss than any wild tears and screams… Sorrow comes in grey and blue…

  5. Polly Says:

    I’d pick out the same lines as Hank has, above, and adore the final stanza. A cool tribute too.

  6. nico Says:

    Beautifully written–the tie worn like a sash, such a powerful image. Excellent work!

  7. Lovely use of blue as a color to convey just a touch of melancholy … a wonderful portrait of your mom … and I like the river analogy. I’m on the train now not on the Hudson line today but love that ride looking out at the river 🙂

  8. vbholmes Says:

    “Though your blues harbor luck.
    It’s the kind that’s found even
    through the cracks of loss”
    Especially like this. And it’s the little daily reminders that keep the memory of a loved one alive. Lovely.

  9. hedgewitch Says:

    First,what a striking photo, k–blue taken to its grey ethereal beginnings, primal landscape that could be from a million years ago as easily as now(since my eyes can barely make out the bumps and lines of civilization. ;_) ) And the poem is an emotional photograph itself, faithful in every nuance to the woman you portray, most especially her simplicity. I especially like these lines:
    “ a cataract blind
    to aluminated sky, isoceles crimped
    to cirrus..”
    for their incredible alienated(from its original food identity) feel, yet also for that sense of a talisman invested with sweeping,more than natural qualities. Your color words are used with sparing grace, and so the reader sees through a delicate, pale wash of mood that suits the theme perfectly. A fine poem, k, snatched from your train meditation room.

  10. lynndiane Says:

    What love and precious memories are revealed in the details and bits of color you wove together here!

  11. I especially love the blue that flares up on ice flows…this is a wonderful poem, which shows your mother in her awesomeness, and your father in his passing……and then wraps it all up in nature’s best blues. Wow. A gift of a poem. And you are SO LUCKY to ride the train to work. I am wildly envious, I have been longing for a train ride for so many years! But in Canada you wouldnt believe how expensive they are.

  12. naramalone Says:

    Sweet and sad at once. It’s a blue spring we’re having so far.

  13. Glenn Buttkus Says:

    Lovely, powerful, touching, praising-not singing the blues. A tribute to both parents. Do you still have your mother? The poetics are so wistful, it is hard to tell if both of them are gone, him first. Adore the image of your father’s blue tie as a sash; back in the 60’s, remember wearing ties as head bands?

  14. Susan Says:

    Love the love here, shown not told, in mother’s desires, in noticed details, in recognizing a grappling with loss that brings the rewards of presence. How many of us and our relatives have held that awareness in our Hudson River landscape! Wonderful tribute.

  15. janehewey Says:

    Karin, I adore how your minute intricacies underlay bigger events. the foil wrapped egg and the couple bites a time, nights. also, the frayed silk and the ice floes. this reads like a painting done in watercolor with details in ink. wonderful sensations.

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