Angela Alaimo O’Donnell explores these varieties of loss in her latest poetry collection, Waking My Mother. The poems reflect on her mother’s dementia and dying; on her mother’s relation to Angela and her siblings when they were kids; on the emotional complexities of living, after her mother’s death, with memories of a mother she wasn’t loved by.
Yes, this is the tough stuff that O’Donnell takes on in these poems. And she takes it on with grace.
One of the hardest things to take on—perhaps the hardest to read about—is her memory of her mother’s succession of lovers after their father died.
Other girls’ mothers
sold Avon, Bee-line, Tupperware.
My mother took lovers.
Young ones. Dark ones. True ones.