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I could never say anything about my mother:

how she repeated, you'll regret it someday,

when I'm not around anymore, and how I didn't believe

in either "I'm not" or "anymore,"

how I liked to watch as she read bestsellers,

always turning to the last chapter first,

how in the kitchen, convinced it's not

her proper place, she made Sunday coffee,

or, even worse, filet of cod,

how she studied the mirror while expecting guests,

making the face that best kept her

from seeing herself as she was (I take

after her here and in a few other weaknesses),

how she went on at length about things

that weren't her strong suit and how I stupidly

teased her, for example, when she

compared herself to Beethoven going deaf,

and I said, cruelly, but you know he

had talent, and how she forgave everything

and how I remember that, and how I flew from Houston

to her funeral and couldn't say anything

and still can't.

About My Mother

Adam Zagajewski, translation from
the Polish written by Clare Cavanagh

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