Adam Zagajewski - About My Mother

I could never say anything about my mother:
how she repeated, you’ll regret it one day,
when I’m not around anymore, and how I didn’t believe
in either “I’m not” or “anymore,”
how I liked watching as she read bestsellers,
always turning to the last chapter first,
how in the kitchen, convinced it wasn’t
her proper place, she made Sunday coffee,
or, even worse, filet of cod,
how she studied the mirror while expecting guests,
making the face that best kept her
from seeing herself as she was (I take
after her in this and other failings),
how she went on at length about things
that weren’t her strong suit and how I stupidly
teased her, for example, when she
compared herself to Beethoven going deaf,
and I said, cruelly, but you know he
had talent, and how she forgave it all
and how I remember that, and how I flew from Houston
to her funeral and couldn’t say anything
and still can’t.

From: Unseen Hand: Poems by Adam Zagajewski (translated by Clare Cavanagh)