In our column Poetry Rx, readers write in with a specific emotion, and our resident poets—Sarah Kay, Kaveh Akbar, and Claire Schwartz—take turns prescribing the perfect poems to match. This week, Kaveh Akbar is on the line.
My seventy-two-year-old mother used to wake up early every day and text me the weather so I could dress accordingly before I left for work. I’m twenty-seven years old and—I am proud to admit—fully capable of checking the weather myself. But despite my repeated protests, my mother texted me daily anyway. She passed away suddenly in late February. We shared so many quirky traditions that feel lost to me now.
I was wondering: Do you have a poem that might speak to these small gestures of love, either from the perspective of what it’s like to give them or to receive them?
Missing the Weather
Your mother’s texting was an irreplaceable gift, undoubtedly one of many such gifts she gave you. At first, my instinct was to send you Robert Hayden’s “Those Winter Sundays” (“What did I know, what did I know / of love’s austere and lonely offices” being among the language’s great articulations of our inability to appreciate small gestures of love in the moment they’re given). But then I thought it would be better to give you something that spoke specifically to maternal love and its associate—too often thankless—labors. Read More