“If days were colors / I would name this one pink, / a pale pink like the rose quartz / pendant I wear,”
The Kind of May Day it is
If days were colors
I would name this one pink,
a pale pink like the rose quartz
pendant I wear, like the insides
of seashells or the colors of the blouses
my mother seemed to collect, box after box
of blouses we filled the day we finally
arrived to empty her apartment--my sister,
my niece, my aunt and I, all of us somehow
working steadily as one that summer day,
holding each other up through sheer purpose
and necessity of our task. Some of her blouses
I took home with me: the one patterned with white
blossoms and doves, the striped flannel,
the plain Oxford she wore in my favorite photo.
I keep them in my closet beside my long skirts
and jumpers, many of them pink now, my chosen
color, to remind myself always of her
beauty and gentleness like this May
day arriving with and without her.
From Mothershell by Andrea Potos. ©Andrea Potos and reprinted by permission of Kelsay Books.
Listen to Andrea Potos read 'The Kind of May Day it is.'
Andrea Potos shared her insight with S&H:
Cleaning out the house of a loved one who passed away always seemed to me that it would be one of the saddest of necessary tasks. Years before my mother was sick, I remember projecting ahead (a bad habit of mine) and quietly dreading it.
When the day came, it turned out much differently than I had ever envisioned. My mother’s condo was small; she was not a packrat, which helped to simplify everything. Somehow the whole day became alright. Surrounded by the women of my family, I felt buoyed up. All of us were working together, with great love for my mother in our hearts. I felt her spirit with us.
We had the chance to choose what we wanted to take home with us. I forever see my mother wearing her Revlon bright pink lipstick and one of her many pink blouses. Though I’ve always loved pink, that day I knew it would become also a color of presence and blessing, a touchstone connecting me to her.