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by Lisa Marie Brodsky

Somehow my mother’s death gives me
the uncanny ability to relate every
song on the radio to our situation.
And so the three hour car ride
from Chicago back home to Madison
is a musical funeral: a rock and roll,
easy listening, classic rock, sweet
80s ballad litany to her.

I suck it up for the anonymous
toll booth workers, smiling as I
place the crumpled dollar in thickly
gloved hands. I wonder why
they are here on Christmas.
But as I drive away, trying to concentrate
on merging back onto I-90, the tears
accelerate and Carole King sings,
“So far away…doesn’t anybody stay in one place anymore…”
and that reminds me of Mom
in the late 70’s, dressed in thick, knit
sweaters, pushing me on the swing as colored
leaves rained down around us
and in the car I howl with Mick Jagger.

Bits of me flake away in the wind
as I open the window to try to dry my tears,
but "Stairway to Heaven" comes on and
I pull over on the shoulder;
all I want to do is climb.


Posted on 12/31/2006
Copyright © 2022 Lisa Marie Brodsky

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