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My mother's age

"How old are you,"

An elderly woman once asked my mother.


"I have been married for 25 years,"

My mother said without hesitation --

Neither an additional blink,

Nor a truant sigh.


In another instance of the same question,

Mother would say,

"My son is 25 now".


Her age was always contingent

On the age of others --

Sometimes a relationship, sometimes a child

And at other times, the death of my two grandparents,

A year apart from each other.


My mother could seamlessly sacrifice

Fifty years of her life

To shadows of <strikethrough>people</strikethrough> men.

24 years of her life

Cornered in the hippocampus

Fading slowly for lack of recall,

Stifled, for they are not anchored into

Marriage, childbirth or caretaking.


I wonder if those 24 years

Will one day erupt

As stories

Gleefully declaring themselves known.


Will my mother sing a poem

In honour of her memories resisting our forgetfulness?

Will she say,

"I am fifty"

Audaciously, as I have known her to be?


That day on,

Will she carry the weight of her years

And not of my father, myself or my grandparents?







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Science journalist, communicator & writer

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