, July 01, 2022

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My Mother's Music


  •   1 min read
My Mother's Music
Joshua Hoehne via Unsplash

Intro by Ted Kooser

Emi­lie Buch­wald was the co-pub­lish­er and found­ing edi­tor of Milk­weed Edi­tions in Min­neapo­lis going on forty years ago, and that press grew up to become one of the finest lit­er­ary pub­lish­ers in our coun­try. Today she edits chil­dren’s books at Gryphon Press, which she also found­ed. Here’s a love­ly remem­brance from her new book, The Momen­t’s Only Moment, from Nodin Press.


Emilie Buchwald

In the evenings of my childhood,
when I went to bed,
music washed into the cove of my room,
my door open to a slice of light.

I felt a melancholy I couldn't have named,
a longing for what I couldn't yet have said
or understood but still
knew was longing,
knew was sadness
untouched by time.

Sometimes
the music was a rippling stream
of clear water rushing
over a bed of river stones
caught in sunlight.

And many nights
I crept from bed
to watch her
swaying where she sat
overtaken by the tide,
her arms rowing the music
out of the piano.


American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Poem copyright ©2016 by Emilie Buchwald, “My Mother's Music,” from The Moment's Only Moment, (Nodin Press, 2016). Poem reprinted by permission of Emilie Buchwald and the publisher. Introduction copyright © 2022 by The Poetry Foundation.


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