Friday, 15 March 2019


by Jan Callner

Do you remember when we took a pedicab in New York City
because it was raining so hard we couldn’t get a taxi to go see
“August, Osage County?”

We stood in front of the Waldorf Astoria and watched the
busy doorman try to entice cabbies to swing in under the awning,
hijacked his efforts, jumped into the bicycle cab
and laughed all the way to the Music Box Theater
practically touching the passing cars
in lanes skimming our skirt tails.

The play was momentous.
A powerful, funny, sad
story of a dysfunctional family,
the last line a quote from T.S. Eliot,
“This is the way the world ends, this is the way the world ends.”

Afterwards, through light drizzle,
we walked back to the Waldorf under my umbrella
into Peacock Alley for a glass of wine
before heading up to our room.
Later, I raced down to the Alley again to retrieve the
missing favorite umbrella,
but it had disappeared, as umbrellas do.

Next day we each bought necklaces
from the elegant jewelry shop on the lower level,
yours white bone, mine silvery pearls.

“At the Waldorf Astoria.”
Those eight syllables when I say them make my tongue jangle.
‘Twas there we celebrated Mother’s Day, mothers both of us.

Today is the first day of my life without you.
I hope you’ve gone on to some other great adventure.
I hope it makes New York City pale against its existence.
I hope you know how important it was to me that you were my mother.

And, the pedicab, Mom. Don’t forget the pedicab.

September 9, 2018

* * * * *

Author's note: "Pedicab" is a poem I wrote the day my 96 year old mother passed—September 9, 2018. Writing it was the only thing that made my grief bearable.

Jan Callner is a professional soprano/musical director/composer/actress/teacher and writer. She has degrees in English and theater arts and studied Opera Performance in Conservatory.

She has written 20 musical plays for young audiences. Two of the titles, fully recorded, are available on Amazon. One of them, "The Frog Prince," won the Early Childhood News Directors' Choice Award. Her  handbook for singers, "Practically Singing" based on her experience on tour with the USO and internationally with her band, is also available.

1 comment:

  1. Bursting with joy and love, brave whimsy, and more love.