An elegant, deep shade of blue,
Mom’s favorite. Before the divorce
she and Dad collected bottles. Their prized finds
were tiny, blue to translucent.
Mom obtained most of the bottles. Dad obtained me.
Abandonment, hers and mine,
fissured break to chasm.
Her last year she refused my visits.
In an orange hotel room near her home
I was full of our estrangement.
I began writing poems, sent her a few—
offerings for reconciliation.
Mom said she liked them.
Our final call: I guess I know now
who the cobalt blue bottles go to.
We’ll talk later about you coming down.
One of my sisters called:
Mom was under hospice care, on oxygen,
her extremities fading to faintest blue
and translucence. Her white hair framed
lips frothing pink from laboring lungs.
and her housemate held a deathbed vigil.
Mom died in Albuquerque
under its brittle pale blue sky.
I hoped to visit her one last time,
to describe Steller’s jays’ cobalt wings
and bodies and fierce black crests,
to show her my cobalt, broken-wing love.
Andrew Shattuck McBride is co-editor of For Love of Orcas, Wandering Aengus Press, 2019. His poem “I Was Happy as an Ant” was a semi-finalist for the 2017 Crab Creek Review Poetry Prize. His work appears in Crab Creek Review, Empty Mirror, Floating Bridge Review, and Black Horse Review.
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