Beth Copeland

Mother’s Japanese friends
send cards she forgets

to open—prints of blond
birds flying

over turquoise waves, pine branches
burdened with snow. Her mailbox,

stuffed with letters
and junk. I slice

into an envelope and pluck a handwritten
note from Kinko-san: I have not heard

from you. I am worried. You are so
Mother snorts, She’s

almost as old as I am!
and we laugh

at what’s lost
in translation. She forgets bills,

to brush her teeth or swallow
her thyroid pills and Lipitor

but remembers Kinko-san
from long ago. Should I write to say you’re

okay? I’ll do it
, but she won’t. She stares

at a maple for hours when I’m
not here, her hair a corona

of uncombed
dandelion seeds. Should I

laugh or cry? Like a broken
bowl mended with molten

gold, she’s more
beautiful than before. I hold

her in the heart
of my heart

where she’s whole.

Beth Copeland was raised in Japan, India, and the United States. Her second poetry collection Transcendental Telemarketer (BlazeVOX books, 2012) was runner up in the North Carolina Poetry Council’s 2013 Oscar Arnold Young Award for North Carolina’s best book of poetry. Her first book Traveling through Glass received the 1999 Bright Hill Press Poetry Book Award. Copeland is an Assistant Professor of English at Methodist University. Currently, she is working on a poetry manuscript about her father’s Alzheimer’s and her mother’s memory loss.

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