Why I Sing (for Mom)


Why I Sing

(for Mom)


heat waves through the city, people’s nerves raw

red-headed Ethiopian woman sells bottled

water for the penniless to the parched, traffic

backs main artery for miles—slow drive home

a little girl . . .

in lemon-yellow dress, mother’s blue feather boa,

marries Malibu Barbie to G.I. Joe in a hot pink corvette

just before tossing them over the step for a miraculous

recovery along a pile of rocks—

"Wings of a Dove," her chosen rhapsody,

accompanied by clapping leaves

and mother’s humming as she hangs

white sheets on a clothesline against the noonday sun

her voice floats on the stars in her hair, on rivulets

that form at the corners of night-colored eyes, a voice

no fancy feather boa could ever give to one so small

notes halt between paling cheeks

don’t stop, Mom pleads around a clothespin

secures a sheet with two others, birds chirp

hear them? she frees her mouth

hands motion like cool water from the spigot

flowing towards the trees—

remember why you sing . . .

my backyard cools despite the heat—I hose down

with the roses—sunlit wind rustles trees into a gusty

back up for “Ode to Joy,” goldfinches twitter and

warble from telephone poles while robins done nesting

cheer up the roost

Olga Dugan



Olga Dugan is a Cave Canem poet. Nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes, her award-winning poems appear in many literary journals and anthologies including The Write Launch, The Sunlight Press, Ariel Chart, Ekstasis, Relief, One Art, Emerge, Channel (Ireland), The Windhover, The Agape Review, Grand Little Things, Kweli, and Poems from Pandemia – An Anthology.

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