“The Lesson” by Karen Foster

Mother and Daughter by Vladimir Makovsky

Mother and Daughter by Vladimir Makovsky

The Lesson

Someday my mother will not awaken from her sleep. I will not be there to hear her cough through the night and pass judgment upon this world with a curse of breath. I will be asleep in my own bed, dreaming of her and me and the days in the garden that once was. I will be struck dumb of heart when she dies. I will turn to my side and shudder in the darkness. My daughter will attend the funeral and be there in her black dress when the grave receives her grandmother. She will monitor my response, judging this passing of grief for future reference. She will observe and memorize this transference, questioning its significance. I will not be able to see her through me. I will be the old one who will cough in the night and reach for flattened sheets while my daughter lies in her bed dreaming.

(Published in Hurricane Alice, republished in Kaleidoscope) 


Karen Foster’s poems been published in Fireweed, Rocky Mountain Review of Language and Literature, Redneck Review, New York Quarterly, Classifieds, Hurricane Alice, and others. Recently one of her poems, Nitroglycerin, won third place in High Plains Writers’ Contest. Her short stories have been published in Briar Cliff Review, Big Ugly Review, and others. A story, The Dog, won third place in a contest held by The Reader, an Omaha arts magazine. Stained Glass, one of her plays, has been performed at the Lincoln Community Playhouse, Lincoln, NE. She is currently Associate Professor of English at Dickinson State University, Dickinson, ND.



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