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Give and Take

by Maureen Glaude

In this month
of crystal beads of rain on branches
I took my first breaths

this the fifth and final birthing
for my mother
a November baby herself
arriving at the close of the First World War
both of us, daughters of the poppies

in the home movies
at the age of two, I'm munching on snow
and in another frame, losing my mitten
to a black labrador pup’s mouth
tears running down my rough-red cheeks

my birthday gifts often included
scarves, tams, and mitts
to begin the season of bundling

what fun, nose-pressing against windows
in those early days, of playing witness
to the follow-up to Jack Frost’s designs
and celebrating the miracle first flakes
before they piled up
enough for moonman-style manoeuvers
out in our snowsuits and galoshes to play

My Nana made her train trips back
to her apartment on the west coast
each November, leaving our home
with the onslaught of the cold.

Dad in his muffler and ski jacket
strung outdoor Christmas lights
working his hands through the cedars
and across the awning trim
on the milder days before December

while we began to anticipate the holidays
making wreaths at Sunday School, from coloured cellophane
and hangers, for the folk in nursing homes

I was thirteen the November day
a letter for me arrived, with Amsterdam stamps
and I raced about the house
to find my parents and share my surprise
at the personal reply from Otto Frank
to my letter about his daughter, Anne, and her diaries

My family’s first great loss came in this month
on a night of freezing rain
the balloons my son had strewn in the living room
for my thirty-fourth, still up
when my father passed away

The end of the month, this year, brings us
joy for our son’s move back to Ottawa again
a year ago, about this time, he told us of his transfer
to Toronto, which meant both our grown children
would be living out of town

Yet the past three days, I am beaded
like the tree branches
with teardrops, since our aged dog, we named Angel
left us to become one

ice rain, ice rain persists
but sometimes it turns white

In five days I will turn fifty
I no longer eat the snow


Author's Note: written for an assignment on plotting of poems, with the working in of November and what it means to me. Still a draft.

Posted on 11/19/2003
Copyright © 2022 Maureen Glaude

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 11/20/03 at 02:16 PM

Interesting flashback glimpses into other lives. Thankfully with today's technology, those old home movies are easily transferred to video.

Posted by Quentin S Clingerman on 11/21/03 at 02:02 PM

A wonderful trip down memory's lane! Times for laughter and times for tears. And time to turn 50! It comes to most. But life is not over. Happy Birthday, Maureen. May you have many, many more! Peace and Joy, Que

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