On The Beach

Ah, what a perfect May day.
I lie on my back,
my arms folded behind my head,
gazing upward.

I see a canvas of blue. And with my mind’s eye,
I begin to paint. Only one color exists—white—
but my imagination begins to construct
a world of fancy.

There is a form long and narrow—a structure of some kind

and over there
a caravan of strange animals
who approach the white pavilion in a hurry,
driven by some invisible master. They catch up

with each other, blend into each other, change and become different. Arriving at the white structure, they become part of it and, magically, become something different and marvelous.

by Diana Siskind

It Never Happened, But I Wish It Had-An Imaginary Conversation

My immigrant mother was never able or willing to adjust to life in America, and she paid a heavy price for this.  She lost the respect of her relatives and even of her six children.  As the youngest child, I sensed the disrespect and behaved badly towards her as well.  When I was a teen-ager, I drifted far away from her and never reconciled.

But late in my life, long after her death, I finally understood what had happened in her life and have tried to achieve closure with her by imagining and writing about it.  In doing this, I’ve been able to create a new reality of the mutual love that existed between us, even though unspoken.

The following is part of an imaginary conversation we never had, but I wish we could have had:

“Mother, I remember that when I was about 15, I wanted something that for some reason I couldn’t have and I began screaming and hitting the wall. You folded your arms across your chest and laughed so hard that I stopped screaming.  I had never seen you looking so alive before.  Why were you laughing?

   “I laughed because you were like a real American child.  No child in Russia would dare to do that in front of his parents and, maybe, who knows? Maybe I was a little proud.  You were so wild!. . . always going your own way. . . strong!. . . smart.   Ach!  I wish I could have been so smart!   But. . .”

“Mother, somewhere I have the memory that you took care of me when I was in pain…crying.”

       “Of course, who else?

“You nursed me through my accidents and diseases and spoon-fed me with chicken soup and cod-liver oil. I can see you syringing my aching ears with warm water.

  “I did, I did.  Oh my God, I did!  You make me cry, Dina.  I cared for you.  I forgot how much I cared for you!”

  “And, Mama, even now, you’re the one I still call to when I’m lonely or hurting.”

     “Tyereh tochter, my dear daughter, I love you, love you. . . forever.”

  “You gave me life, Mama.  I love you, too.”