Mother’s Ready by Tina Barry

Mother’s Ready

I wish for my mother’s death,
as she does, if only for her to be reborn
lucky. The take for granted kind of luck–

Pretty face.
An aptitude for math.

I go to a tarot reader.
After a few flips, the death card.
I imagine the drawing

on its face is a knight on horseback,
some sign that my mother will exit
life in a romantic stampede.

But it isn’t shining armor, just a hood
draping death’s face.
Is it wrong to wish for her end to be as glorious

as the watercolors she painted?
Café scenes and seascapes.
A coral reef–

red and its shadow–so real,
she could hold it in her palm
like a tiny hand.


Tina Barry is the author of Beautiful Raft (Big Table Publishing, 2019) and Mall Flower (Big Table Publishing, 2016). Her poems and fiction have appeared in numerous literary publications such as The Best Small Fictions 2020 (spotlighted story) and 2016, The American Poetry Journal, Sky Island Journal, Nixes Mate, Lascaux Review, Harbor Review (book review), Nasty Women Poets, A Constellation of Kisses and upcoming in Rattle. Tina is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee and has several Best of the Net nods. She is a teaching artist at The Poetry Barn and

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