The hardest part of losing her mother in 2020

By Nancy Miller Gomez

was after the memorial, her laptop propped on the table
cluttered with half-empty teacups and books
as her mother’s body was buried two time zones over

in Louisiana. After the eulogies and prayers,
and the few people standing graveside walked away
and all the others clicked off, there was nothing to do.

But she couldn’t bring herself to close the screen.
So she sat a long time watching her own face
looking back, and imagined she was her mother,


and watched to see what her mother would have seen
if she’d been there, and in her expression
she could see the love she knew her mother had felt

that last time they’d talked. And then she was crying
and watching herself cry—as if she was her mother,
and the connection was like a counterweight

she could carry, as though an infinity mirror
had opened inside her. It didn’t matter then,
if she hit the red button that said “End.”


Originally from Kansas, Nancy Miller Gomez now lives in Santa Cruz, California. Her work has appeared in Best American Poetry 2021, Best New Poets 2021, The Adroit Journal, New Ohio Review, Shenandoah, River Styx, The Rumpus, Rattle, Massachusetts Review, American Life in Poetry, Verse Daily and elsewhere. Her chapbook, Punishment, was published in 2018 as part of the Rattle chapbook series. She co-founded an organization that provides poetry workshops to incarcerated women and men. More at: nancymillergomez.com

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