Reading Frank O'Hara After My Mother's Death
Eleanor Kedney

Reading Frank O'Hara After My Mother's Death

I buy an Arizona Daily Star to read obituaries
in which everyone was kind, generous, and will be missed.
The advice given from a heart doctor:
“Don’t look at the stat monitors;
you can’t live by the numbers.”
There were days hers were so good.
This month, a blue moon on New Year’s Eve.
The maid at the Waldorf, a Russian Jew, told me,
get out and walk. “Don’t look at anybody,
don’t go into stores, just walk.”
In St. Bartholomew’s church,
a woman turned to a man—
“God wants you to live as long as possible.”
I just wanted quiet.
The kind of quiet that comes out of stillness:
hummingbird wings sculling the air;
Ave Maria sung as liturgy by an opera singer.
I took a wrong turn today up the mountain.
Now, I wear blue topaz, the color of my mother’s eyes.
Oval stones in a bracelet, hoop earrings.
Though I am not mineral or vitreous
I have been touched, turned, warmed, and cut.
I want to believe that the dog lick-kisses my lips
because she loves me and not
for the sweet jam in the corners of my mouth.
Now, I count lights when I drive,
snack instead of eat meals.
Now, the wave of a bare greasewood in the wind,
the orange flowers that hang on
the Cape honeysuckle in January amaze me.

Eleanor Kedney

is the author of the chapbook The Offering (Liquid Light Press, 2016). Her poems have appeared in a number of U.S. and international journals and anthologies. She founded the Tucson branch of the New York-based Writers Studio and served as the director and the master class teacher. Her website is