Fortunately, I have more than one living parent, both 90 now. My mother, a woman of enormous foresight and drive, influenced my life beyond measure. This week she suffered another major stroke affecting ¼ of her brain and is in hospital. A reading on heritage would be incomplete if I did not dedicate one poem for her.
“Appetite” is the last poem in her section of Sightlines. As I went through my parents’ home last year, after my sister Julia’s death, clearing away decades of things, I kept finding recipes my mother had been collecting for her cookbooks. We’ll go out on this poem dedicated to Ruth Evelyn Johnston Thompson.
At the end of her life, so much left undone.
So much promise left to be won.
So much sugar left unspun.
So many recipes left in the book.
So many foods left to be cooked.
So many meals left to be tasted.
So many roasts left to be basted.
So many tastes left to devour.
Her appetite still grows by the hour.
Even her stomach growl shows power.
Collected in boxes, bags, and barrels
her recipes keep her up all night.
She comes to bed now, and we turn off the light.
Stars wink high in the sky,
as dawn draws on
sun reaps he sky.
When she is done
as she pulls down her scythe.
–Amelia Grace MeCarthy