My mother loses the tip of her nose to melanoma.
She loses her last sweetheart Art when his daughter forced him to move
across the country.
She loses her friends one by one as they died.
She loses her swim class when I won’t let her walk on the slippery pool walkway.
She loses reading novels she loved when her left eye goes blind.
She loses her short-term memory to the mini-stroke.
She loses walking unaided to scoliosis.
She loses her house she’s lived in fifty-eight years when she falls and breaks her hip.
At the nursing home she asks everybody to talk her home home home.
She tells everybody I took away her home.
I’m a lost soul she says.
She remembers she wants the war to end.
She remembers to tell me to work half the day when I have a cold.
She remembers to tell me she loves me.
Julia Stein has published five books of poetry, the latest of which is What Were They Like (2013) and edited her two books of poetry: Walking Through a River of Fire: 100 Years of Triangle Factory Poetry and Every Day Is an Act of Resistance: Selected Poems of Carol Tarlen. She is co-writer on the non-fiction book Shooting Women: Behind the Camera, Around the World (Intellect Ltd, England) published November 2015