The week after you died, Mom,
you were in my checkout line,
little old lady who met my stare
with the fear, the yearning
of a mortal chosen by a god,
feeling herself change
painfully cell by cell
into a shadow, a laurel, you, a constellation.
About this Poem
"In Ovid, desire can change anyone into...anything. In the supermarket, it happened just the way the poem says: I’m afraid I met her eyes an instant too long. (When I glimpsed the same woman a few weeks later she didn’t look like my mother at all.)"
James Richardson is the author of During (Copper Canyon Press, 2016).
Date Published: 2013-05-28
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/metamorphosis