The Patient Ghost

by Janet Dean

Before I was a woman – I don’t mean physically, I mean
consciously, in my mind – before that, I wrote a poem or two.
They were political poems; that was my stance.
As to where I was standing, I couldn’t have said.

I went through that consciousness-raising, that debate
about the fate of women, and how oppressed we were.
I was not oppressed like my mother had been, but I felt it.
It was both liberation and load. Still is.

There is no evidence, nothing left from the hole of worst years;
all about death, all of the flesh, there was no mind.
Motherhood, that most womanly of acts, transmogrified me –  
I became my mother.

Uneasily, we sit together, writing.
I try to make her write like Robert Frost, homespun and dark.
She waits, a patient ghost, nowhere to go.
I’ve got all the time in the world, she’ll say.
Be still, let it come.