monica byrne

Midsummer night’s mother.

The anniversary of my mother’s death came and went this year. Of course, that doesn’t mean anything. Grief follows no linear path…some years, I barely notice, and others, it incapacitates me. This year I was busy with the Fringe and so had a lot to distract me. But on the subway today I saw a toddler wrap her legs around her mother’s torso and fall asleep on her shoulder and I thought, “I remember that.”

Here is a poem my Dad wrote about my Mom. If I need to cry, I just read this. Late summer was indeed her time: birthday, wedding anniversary, death-day, the cicadas throughout.



Her bearing regal, luminous even-

a midsummer night’s dream. I will never

get over her, a midsummer vision

in gold lame’, flattened sandals ever

slapping insouciantly down some stairs,

devil may care the details—dust, my faults.

I conjure her presence, renaissance faire

here where I walk, green grassed under tree vaults

in midsummer late day light. Evening sun

she seems to me, her possibilities

poised again, after her night in homespun,

like Cinderella to dance in Belize

at dawn with a kind prince on whose empire

the sun never finally sets. I would

follow wherever she goes, to admire

her peerless lips, steal a kiss if I could

for the taste of the earthy gloss on them,

like the musk of midsummer’s dusk, humid

and salt. We were never more one than when

dancing—neither of us cared which one led.