Ann Keiffer

Umbilical Poem

In the last several years I have
have often wakened from a nap
disoriented, the first thought crazy
in my head, “Where is my mother?”

Coming to consciousness from
deep-sleep-confusion–where am I,
what planet am I on, who am I?–
about then I remember my husband.

I’m halfway there now…wherever
there may be. But still not anchored,
still not tethered, still confused by
that question…Where is my mother?

Dropping back into my body, my
home, my life like a space capsule
re-entering the earth’s atmosphere,
thank-you gravity, I remember…

I am Ann, married to Larry. My mother
is 90, living in her pretty apartment
on the family farm back in Ohio. And
that’s all I need to know…I’m back.

Late two nights ago my husband’s cell
phone jolted us awake in the dark; it was
my sister-in-law phoning to tell him
their 91-year-old mother had just died.

Death was not unexpected. It brought
the end of suffering, and prayed-for release.
Larry felt complete with his mother, no
regrets or love unsaid. Still, he is bereaved.

After that inevitable phone call comes for
me in deep of night, bringing the news my
own mother has passed, how will I again
find solid ground without my tether? In this
waking dream of life, will I still and always
need to ask, Where is my mother?

Ann Keiffer
April, 2014

Image : Artist Lisa Hurwitz on


About Ann

I am interested in the strange beauty of brokenness, in transforming possibility in difficult times, in how we heal even when we can’t get better, in the alchemy of surrender, in the interplay of light and shadow, in the bounty of everyday wonders, in the gift of laughter…and writing about it, all and everything.

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