Poems & Essays

18 Dec


General/Column One Response

As you vanish, unchecked
grasping frantically
at denial
(your trusted safety belt)
trying to resist sinking

on a glimpse of consciousness
you cannot tell your age
or mine, or today’s date

‘then’ you say
‘we should say farewell.
I might not recognize you
the next time around.’

‘Chances are you won’t, Mom.’
‘But you’ll love me nevertheless’
I would like to add.
Tears choke me.

‘You’ll love me’
my mind whispers
‘because of the cormorants
we watched from the riverbank.’

Your arm weighing over mine
as I pointed at dark silhouettes
long necks
wide wingspans.

You were all there, were you?
Enjoying the breeze
and my words.

When you’ll recognize me
no more, your body
—your nameless soul—
will recall the cormorants
and the afternoon sun.

Your arm will seek mine.
You’ll know I am a good thing
you can lean on.


Toti O’Brien is the Italian Accordionist with the Irish Last Name. She was born in Rome then moved to Los Angeles, where she makes a living as a self-employed artist, performing musician and professional dancer. Her work has most recently appeared in Colorado Boulevard, Ruminate, Windmill, and The Write Place At The Write Time.

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1 Comment

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  1. Nancy

    December 18, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    Oh Toti, this brings tears to my eyes. You capture perfectly the love we share with our mothers all our lives, whether they know us or not, whether they are living or not. The last time I saw my mom, she could not speak, and looked asleep. I said ” I love you mom, and I know if you could speak, you would tell me you love me, too.” She opened her eyes, looked directly at me and smiled broadly as if to say, “Of course, dear, and always.”
    Beautifully written, Toti. Thank you.


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