Poem: My Mother's Things

Dec 29, 2013

My mother's things...

in the very last of the death boxes:

umpteen beautiful crystal bottles filled

with exotic perfumes from foreign lands,

pounds of barbaric jewelry, ancient bones and stones.

A jug full of bells.

A jug full of bells...

some of them tongueless, voiceless.

Poetry...even a book of poetry- the poet being an old, dead lover

of my mother Wild Honey.

The belt she made at camp when she was fourteen.

My second grade report card...

my teacher notes my "enormous imagination" and my "sense of humor."

(It was nice of her to write that...I can't think of anything worse than me as a funny second-grader.)

I have my mother's old love letters.

She also saved every word I ever wrote to her.

I have her silks - yards and yards of red silk and purple.

I'm going to make my photograph in them....the silks.

I have her passport, her library card...

her statue of Obi Wan Kenobi.

I have her eyes...her cheekbones....

her blood....

her ashes.


Valerie Haugen
Credit Valerie Haugen

Valerie Haugen is the Associate Artistic Director of Carbondale’s professional theatre Thunder River Theatre Company, and a founding member. She is their lead actress and dramaturg/researcher, and has performed leading roles in most of TRTC's productions since its founding in 1995. Valerie is the theatre’resident writer - building outreach program performances for TRTC’s Educational Outreach, Literary Nights, and El Dia de los Muertos.  Valerie also organizes TRTC’s annual Karen Chamberlain Poetry Festival which takes place the last weekend in March.

Valerie’s poetry has appeared in the Mountain Gazette, HARP, and in the Telluride Watch. TRTC recently produced the play “The Tempest of the Mind,” conceived and developed by TRTC’s artistic directors, and scripted by Valerie. Valerie also co-wrote "Passionate Collaborators - Burns and Allen produced in June 2013 at TRTC. Valerie’s one woman show on the power of poetry to save lives, “What Drips In Sleep Against the Heart,” was the final installation in the month-long Support Women Artist Now celebration in Carbondale.  She has published a book of poetry entitled "Naked Underneath." Valerie was the Ziggie's Denver 2012 Poet of the Year.