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A Complicated Love

When my mother passed away four years ago, I wanted to revolt against society's heartless demand that I just push through the dense muck of my murky feelings. People continued to say,"It's good to stay busy," but I didn't want to be busy. I wanted to collapse. Thankfully, I was given a week off from work where I could attend to the business side of death, but I didn't really have the chance to grieve let alone begin to grieve. About three weeks later, the school year ended. I spent my summer sifting through my mother's home and deciding what to keep, donate or toss. My mom was incredibly eclectic and possessed a wealth of treasures from historical documents to unique antiques and a ton of artwork. Cleaning out her home was like embarking upon a treasure hunt each day. I even found my great-grandmother's Ellis Island identification card in my mother's medicine cabinet! Needless to say, it took a lot of time and energy to empty my mother's house and have it market ready by the time returned to the classroom. While I accomplished my goal and sold her house that fall, I felt resentful that I hadn't had sufficient time to attend to my grief. Matters were further complicated by the fact that my mom and I had an incredibly messy and complicated relationship. One of the many surprising gifts of this sabbatical year is that I've had time to grieve and be with all that I was unable to process at the time of my mother's death. I wrote this poem the other day.

I have another recently written poem that speaks to plunging into the unknown and living life fully. I'll post it tonight!

A Complicated Love

by Lauren Taub Cohen

Sulky, silky blue

to satin, sable

night –

Bulky shadows

pass beneath

my window

in the direction

of promises waiting


Five, fledgling flames

chirp silently in their

cozy nests of

scented wax

and a sense of ease

begins to settle

upon my lap

like a purring cat

gone slack.

A frozen stream

of grief begins to thaw

and streaks my cheeks

with salty prayers and pleas

to forgive and be forgiven

even from


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