"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
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?