Explaining the Urn on the Dining Room Cabinet

By Janice Wilson Stridick


I admire Quaker cemetery logic, each death equal, but
I can’t bury my mother by the bank parking lot.

I can’t bury my mother until I catalog her paintings.
I can’t bury my mother until I publish her book.

I can’t finish my novel until my mother is dead.
(She died years ago) but she was an artist

not supposed to fade so soon.
When hospice arrived, she talked burial.

Only the Quaker cemetery in Moorestown
would do—not Winona, Ohio—her birthright.

I must wait for more Friends to die so she can lie
near the oak tree, far from the ATM.

I can’t finish my novel until I bury my mother.
I can’t bury my mother until I finish her book.

I can’t finish her book because I can’t bury her ashes
because I can’t put my mother by the bank parking lot.



Janice Wilson Stridick's poems, essays and stories have been published in Arts and Letters, Monarch Review, Studio One, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Philadelphia Stories, New York Arts Magazine, Tahoe Blues and other venues. She earned an MFA from Vermont College in 2007, and is working on a poetry manuscript titled ³Unfinished Daughter², as well as a visual memoir of the late artist Alice Steer Wilson, her mother. She will, eventually, bury her mother's ashes-- and finish that novel. She lives in Merchantville, New Jersey with her delightful architect-husband, an arthritic but affable Dalmatian, and a cranky cat. Her occasional blog, podcast, and photography may be viewed at www.wilsoncreative.com

Share |