Lost in Yonkers

That’s where my mom’s thoughts are these days — lost in Yonkers, which is where she lived most of her life and where I grew up. She’s spending most of her time going through old photos and organizing them. As she does this, she’s transported back in time, back to better times, back to the times when our extended family numbered in the many, many dozens. Now, the few that are left are even worse shape than she is in. She got a call yesterday that one of my aunts is in the hospital dying of cancer. Losing. Losing. Lost. This is my mom in the 1940s having her portrait painted by a woman-artist who escaped the Nazis and whose husband-doctor my dad helped to set up a practice in Yonkers back.
The portrait is no Vermeer, but I can probably write a better poem about it than I seem to be able to do with the assigned Lady Writing a Letter.
I guess I’m feeling pretty lost myself, although not in Yonkers. I’m feeling lost in my own skin, my own life. I can’t seem to generate whatever it is I need to work on my poetry. As a result, I’m not at my every-other-Tuesday-night group, and I won’t be going to the Grennon workshop on Thursday. Actually, I’m heading out to Boston on Friday to help my daughter and son-in-law look at some houses they might want to buy. Getting ready for that trip is a whole lot more important to me than sitting down and wrestling some more with Vermeer’s Lady. My brother is coming up to stay with my mom. And I’m packing up my car with food and diapers and more toys for my little grandson, and bags and bags of Peppridge Farm double chocolate Milano and Geneva cookes that I buy at the discount outlet store because we’re all addicted to them.
The poetry will come when it comes. I’m driving out of here to get lost in family.
And then I’ll come back and work on getting ready for the last of the Grennon workshop sessions. I don’t want to miss that last one, because it’s the last workshop I’m going to be doing for a long while to come. I’ll either write poetry or I won’t. But I will or won’t on my own terms.

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