Trust In Love – James Gallagher

My Mother’s Eyes


Moments of clarity.
Moments of precision.

As a toddler I watched the seedlings tenderly planted, nurtured
and later when I picked the biggest tomato I had ever seen,
I saw the smile in her eyes.

I would see the joy,
when she would, bright, smiling, browned by the sun,
radiant with good health and fortune,
stride in off the golf course,
her eyes sparkling.

Moments of confusion
when I was pinned between them
as they fought
so seriously, so differently
and her eyes were more pained than I had ever seen.

Moments of anxiety
as she watched her children running wild in the sixties.
As if my Father’s drinking wasn’t enough,
there was my sister and I with our acid and hash.

And I remember how much the joy and pride
shined in her eyes when she first knew that
my son had been conceived and she told us first
even before we could tell her.

The only time I saw anything close to doubt or regret
was when my Father had bottomed out
and we all had to turn from him.
“Tuff Love” had greyed and dulled her so
that years later she had destroyed
every picture of herself from that year.

My Mother’s eyes filled a whole room with love on any occasion.
At our last Easter together, when Pam had fussed so much over her
with cake with the tiny violets and violas adorning it,
they planted bleeding hearts together and
I remember the eyes of the two women
I have best and most loved in all my life
locked together in mutual joy and admiration.

Her eyes taught me again
in the moment after her operation
and she finally asked.
In the moment as we told her
a fleeting instant of terror flashed and was gone
in the one and only time I ever saw even a hint of fear
in her eyes.
I, in the next, saw her strength and
the true power of her character accept reality,
as she had always done so well before, and
steel herself once more for the next and last lesson
she would teach us.

In one of the last moments of clarity before the end,
her eyes showed the only remorse I had ever seen in them.
Remorse only for the time she was losing.
Time, here, with us that she so loved and
we so deeply cherished and
now so deeply miss.


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