Adem Özbay Blog

Edebiyat, Sanat, Düşünce ve Yaşamak Üzerine

Because my mother loved pocketbooks

I come alive at the opening click or close of a metal clasp.


And sometimes, unexpectedly, a faux crocodile handle makes me



Breathy clearing of throat, a smooth arm, heels on pavement, she

lingers, sound tattoos.


I go to the thrift store to feel for bobby pins caught in the pocket


of a camel hair coat.


I hinge a satin handbag in the crease of my arm. I buy a little

change purse with its curled and fitted snap.


My mother bought this for me. This was my mother’s.


I buy and then I buy and then, another day, I buy something else.


In Paris she had a dog, Bijou, and when they fled Paris in 1942

they left the dog behind.


When my mother died on February 9, 1983, she left me.


Now, thirty years later and I am exactly her age.


I tell my husband I will probably die by the end of today and all day he says, Are you getting close, Sweetheart? And late in the afternoon, he asks if he should buy enough filet of sole for two.


From a blue velvet clutch I take out a mirror and behold my lips in

the small rectangle.


Put on something nice. Let him splurge and take you out for

dinner, my mother whispers on the glass.


About This Poem

“This was a poem written as I tried to write another poem. My mother often shows up this way, pushing up in the cracks and lapses of other poems. I am always surprised by the way my mother lives in me and how much–30 years after her death–I am still talking to her, inventing her, feeling her shape me.”

–Victoria Redel


Victoria Redel is the author of three books of poetry, the most recent of which isWoman Without Umbrella(Four Way Books, 2012). She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College. She also currently serves as vice president of PEN America.

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