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This Remission, a poem by Bonnie Maurer

This Remission
by Bonnie Maurer

We discuss who gets what.
I want Mom’s old Mixmaster,
my sister—the green marble table.
Who gets the giraffe
collection on five shelves?
And I search my own shelves
for vacancy flashing,
like perusing the neon
hotel signs on the Miami strip
as a six year old in the family car
on vacation where we ended
up at the Driftwood Motel—
which fits this remission
where we stay with mother now,
lodged on shore
before we are licked wet
and tumbled back
to spin on the tongue
of a cancerous sea.

Mother has tossed her
yellow wigs for hair
grown back, white
as the noon sun on the water,
white as the table top
she continues to deck.
She taught us this much:
Order. And set the table
ahead of time.
“No matter how
prepared you are,
there is always
something,” she says.

Many, I say.
My sister has put
her name on
masking tape strips
and affixed one to
the Chinese tea set,
the rose vase, and
the Austrailian Aboriginal carvings.
A house divvied up,
mother laughs,

but already she
has divided us up,
handing me a new book
beginning with my baby
footprint inked 1949
on a white card,
and the photo
in my aqua suit
at the Driftwood Motel
where I joined excursions
to the parrot jungle
and the clown divers.

This remission
let the squawking birds fly in,
the clown divers begin their antics.
Let death and its diligent entourage
sit in the bleachers waving,
entertained, before
they come begging her for lunch.

Cavalierly, mother salts
popcorn for hers,
living among paintings
of boats at sea,
trees, mountains, fuchsia
orchids on the table,
silk kimonos, and pink
glass giraffes I may
have found a spot for.

Bio: Bonnie Maurer, MFA in poetry from IU, author of “Reconfigured” by Finishing Line Press, 2009; “Ms Lily Jane Babbitt Before the Ten O’clock Bus from Memphis Ran Over Her,” Raintree Press and Ink Press (2nd edition),1979; “Old 37: The Mason Cows,” Barnwood Press, 1981; and “Bloodletting: A Ritual Poem for Women’s Voices,” Ink Press, 1983. As a result of the 1999-2000 Creative Renewal Fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis, she authored “The Reconfigured Goddess: Poems of a Breast Cancer Survivor,” 2013. Maurer’s poems have appeared in the New York Times, Indiana Review; Lilith, a feminist journal; Nimrod International Journal; Innisfree online journal; The Wabash Watershed online mag.; on the walls of Gallery 924: “The Contemporary Landscape Show, 2014”; on the ceiling of Indianapolis’ St. Vincent Hospital’s 6th floor and in the recent anthologies: And Know This Place: Poetry of Indiana, (Indiana Historical Society, 2011); The Cancer Poetry Project: Poems by Cancer Patients and Those Who Love Them, (Fairview Press, 2001, 2013.) Currently, Maurer works as a poet for Arts for Learning, as a copy editor for the Indianapolis Business Journal, and as an Ai Chi (aquatic flowing energy) instructor