Mother by Edna Shochat


My mother and Edna

I see my mother in the corridor.

She has come to live with me.

I ask her:

Now? Why not years ago

when you were young and strong,

when you could help me iron shirts

and feed the hummingbirds

at my kitchen window?

Why did you wait until you were tired

and would rather stay home than go out

to watch shorebirds by the bay

or a late-night picture show?

My mother doesn’t answer.

She can’t say a word.

She just keeps looking at me –

as I watch her small, gray-haired reflection

in my hallway mirror.


Edna Shochat grew up in Israel and studied art and graphic design. She came to the US in 1971 and worked in advertising until moving to Palo Alto, California in 1995, where she joined the Palo Alto Art Center Foundation and served on the board of the Dragon Theatre.

A journey through breast cancer, in 2011, led her to discover poetry. “What began as writing therapy has become a vehicle that has transformed my journey through aging.”  Her poems are often inspired by photographs and visual images, pictures followed by verse and form “Notes from a camera.”

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  1. Suzette Kitselman says:

    What a lovely poem. I, too, am a C survivor, and also took care of my Mother when she was terminal with it. She was the same, yet different, only because of time. It’s amazing how our roles change with each other as time goes on, yet we are the same people. Time is the ingredient that makes our equation a different dynamic.

  2. Edna Shochat says:

    Your kind words have touched my heart. (Time is indeed full of surprises – from FaceBook Friends to Soul Mates in just an instant.) Thank you, Suzette.

    • Edna Shochat says:

      Obviously, the poem is about myself, and about each of us; we don’t see ourselves in a true way, as others see us. Even our own reflection, in the mirror, seems like someone else, albeit familiar. When the physical reflection of ourselves does not match the one in our mind’s eye (forever looking younger, to match the way we feel inside), reality is surprising and more than a tad sad. Thank you, Doron, for your comment and sentiments.

  3. Joan Bigwood says:

    My mother would often say, when looking in the mirror, “How did Mother get in there?” Every time I look in the mirror these days I say “Don’t worry, you’re older. This was bound to happen.” And then I run screaming.

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