Jody Talibart

Emmaline's Backyard

Hours of listening to the crickets and their revelations,
with heads bent over pots of tea,
and innumerable tempests in the china cups we dropped in the grass, were not enough to embitter you from cutting the crusts off my bread, nor the countless little idiosyncrasies which you so tenderly indulged, with the grace of Saint Peregrine, under the shade of the weeping willow tree of my childhood.

I remember our fits of inappropriate giggles at the dinner table,
wiping tears of restraint from our eyes, while the family looked so puzzled by our secret wordless language, that I hope you took with you when you left.
There was always something to talk about, that only we two could,
coaxing truth from each other like an inchworm from a marigold,
denying shame by refusing eye contact with each other,
focusing instead on spreading peanuts for the squirrels,
on those many long, dewy, Montreal mornings
in the garden of my youth.

Then there was a time I couldn’t get far enough away from you,
that my suede boots were stained yellow from running though fields thick with buttercups, headlong through the stiles, and across the Cotswold hills, that I finally came full stop and looked around me,
you are everywhere I go, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
You are there every time I hear the crickets sing, when bluebells carpet the forest floor, on nights when the stars seem unusually striking, whenever the cat crawls under the blankets, and every time I look at the woman in the mirror.

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, June 1, 2008
Poem Edited: Wednesday, April 10, 2013

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Comments about Emmaline's Backyard by Jody Talibart

  • Margot Anderson (9/13/2009 9:33:00 PM)

    This poem is splendidly reminicent of all daughters who have lost their mothers. The end of the poem 'I just look at the woman in the mirror' just begs to have the added, 'and put on her lipstick and use her comb and put her diamond in my hair'. I didn't want this poem to end. I wanted Emmaline's memories to go on and on and on. Jody Talibart is, simply wonderful. I can't wait to go back and read more of her poems. I am highly recommending this poem to the Calgary Councelling Centre, so they can pass it on to clients who will find the same joy and healing power that I did reading this wonderful poem.

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