***For my sister who’s driving home to New Hampshire tonight.
I will always answer
a late night phone call
from you because your words
are dripping with nothing,
love and even when I’m whispering
into the phone with my eyes closed
sitting on the carpet
back leaning into the bed frame,
the wind’s blowing through my window,
quiet, low brushing my hair at my bare shoulders
and you say that talking
on the phone makes you sad
because it means we’re
running long distance with words;
these are marathons of hope and
symphonies of voices
we imagine are attached to a real body
at the other end of the line.
Distance is blue flecked with copper glitter,
but it will never be
simple as together:
heads nested on pillows
hair rippled, mixing strands,
mouths singing about nothing.
Photo by Moriah Baltz, Minneapolis, MN
My mother was a character. Yep, 100% enthusiasm, live for the moment, competitive, vibrant, friendly, inquisitive. She was the center of our home growing up 70s style. Dad went to work and Mom stayed home. Placing orders with Rusty the milkman – do you have that blueberry ice cream you had last summer? Waving to the mailman – hello Frank! Accepting packages from the G. Fox delivery man – thanks, I’ve been waiting for these dresses forever! And warding off the Fuller Brush salesman – no I don’t need to replace the vacuum today, thank you!
All was kept in good order around the house.
Except, on Saturday afternoons.
Except on Saturday afternoons when Milton Cross broadcast “live from the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.”
Suddenly, our innocent little radio that usually gave the weather report or followed the baseball game jumped to life. Our home was filled with strange, guttural sounds that sailed from high to low in a musical cocophony that was hard to follow. Opera! And not just any opera, but German opera.
The music had a strange effect upon my mother. Suddenly she was transported from suburban housewife to concert hall performer. Center stage. A single spotlight. And there was no stopping my mother once she got started. It was a complete concert from soprano to bass. Not just singing in the shower, but windows wide open singing. Our peaceful neighborhood with leafy canopy of oaks on hushed streets echoed with Mozart and Weber, Strauss and Wagner.
An opera diva lived amongst us. On Saturday afternoons.
Paintings by me
aka Bethany, aka the opera diva’s grandkid
Make your own opertic cocophony today!