When My Mother Was Young


This isn’t a photo of my mother – it’s DeAnna Pellecchia from Paula’s company – but it is one of her dreams. Though never on the stage, she had a stage name. Paula Warren. Yes, it’s funny and that isn’t the only thing that she and Paula shared – Paula picked that name too – they shared a love of fabric and movement, placement of all things bright and beautiful. When something new would come into my life that my mother liked, she would say, “I bet Paula picked that out.”

Even though life with my mother wasn’t easy, she was fascinating and she enjoyed being difficult. I liked that about her and wrote this poem imagining a relationship with her that was less separate than the one we actually had. When in doubt, make it up!

No Dust In Her Eyes

Mother, I remember the sweet red smell of your Dentyne
As I sat in the backseat of the Roadster. You are always
In front of me, your hair flap-flying back from your face,
Cherry red lips and teeth so white clench an extendable gold
Cigarette holder. Smell of leather, gas and your Arpege, the wind
Whipping sitting up or quiet down along the seat. The fields swell before us,
The road snakes miles before a cross comes where you
Honk a warning and hope someone will see your dust.

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