The sun burnished my mother’s hair
the copper of pennies, and the breeze whipped
her skirt around me like a cocoon
lined with blue flowers that day
we walked in the yard, her hand wrapped
around mine in a total embrace.
I was four or five and she was talking to me
in that easy manner she used with friends, as if
I was a grown-up too, as if I was her best friend
When, all of a sudden, something made me look
up – the sun was behind her head
and she was smiling down at me and I knew
that my mother was an angel, not like the fake angels
in movies but a real angel, like the ones God sends
to earth to care for people -
In the clear, warm sunshine
of the clear May afternoon, I strolled with the phenomenon
that was our angel
to the back door of our red brick ranch house
in the suburbs of Roanoke, Virginia
as, on the long, white clothesline on the hill behind us,
my calico and gingham dresses the angel had washed
and pinned to the line that morning, gleamed
in every place she touched.
© by Sherry Hughes Beasley.
Used with the author’s permission.