Susan's Voice

Palm Court

By Susan Lilley

gloria hopscotch


My treasured mom died in 2007; later that year I visited my daughter in Tallahassee, Florida where she was attending college. Together we found the place my mother lived for a while as a girl. This poem attempts to touch the mystery of  our timeless connection.

Behind a sorority house
old oaks crowd the one-block street
where my mother,
seven decades ago, spent a few fatherless
years before life changed again.
I gather my own daughter
to my side, her college head
far away but still willing
to be loved by her history.
The house is gone
so I want to ransack the air itself
for evidence of afternoon
piano lessons, dark braids
flying behind a rope swing,
hopscotch songs in the street.
If that child could just appear to us–
a visitation in sepia, a pinafore–
I would know her at once.
But our faces are not
yet dreamed of,
here at the very place
her girl laughter might still
be trapped in the trees.

From the chapbook Satellite Beach (Finishing Line Press), originally published in The Southern Review

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