Her hair still hardly touched with grey, and wound
in gleaming braids around her head, my mother,
who in life was not so given to smiling,
grinned in last night’s dream from ear to ear
the double meaning of archaic smiles:
“I am alive” and also “I am dead.”

A snapshot from the Fifties, black and white:
there stands my mother, sturdy, tan, and beaming,
each arm around a daughter. And all three
are squinting in the same morning sun
that lit that joyful smile that lit the dream.

Articles by Rachel Hadas

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