Chapter 16
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“The Last Time”

Book Excerpt: Water Lessons

The Last Time

The last time I saw my mother,
she was sitting in the front passenger seat

of my father’s car. I looked down into her face
through the open window. She looked up at me

and smiled, said hello. Her right hand
resting on the door. She looked older

than her age, but beautiful.
And luminous. Something in her

already beginning to change. Like a seed,
buried in the ground, sensing the sun’s

fuller light. She smiled, said hello.
Or maybe I was the seed, she the light.

I’m here, she said. And here was someplace else.

“The Last Time”

Copyright © 2022 by Lisa Dordal. Excerpted from Water Lessons (Black Lawrence Press). All rights reserved. Lisa Dordal teaches in the English department at Vanderbilt University. Her first full-length collection of poetry, Mosaic of the Dark, was a finalist for the 2019 Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry. She is the recipient of an Academy of American Poets University Prize, the Robert Watson Poetry Prize, and the Betty Gabehart Prize. Her poetry has appeared in Best New Poets, New Ohio Review, The Sun, and Narrative.

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