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Last sync:2023-03-15 07:45
Sabrina Benaim (she/her/hers) reads her poem, “In Praise of Tomorrow.”

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I'm Sabrina Benaim, and I'll be reading "In Praise of Tomorrow" from my collection, I Love You, Call Me Back. I chose this poem because it is the last poem I wrote for the collection, and it holds a special place in my heart for that reason.

Jon says, today we are going to write a poem of praise. Say praise & all I see is my my mother's face. It's going to be hard to write a poem praising my mother because she may die & a montage of all the good feels like something that happens only at the end.

I do not want this to be the end. My eyes beg to spill even now at the sight of my scribbles recalling the time she stood outside of the bathroom door generously giving me a tampon tutorial because I refused to let her in. I cannot think about the time I called her on Interstate 81 & had to tell her I had just run over a bear & would you believe she laughed, said, oh, that's my daughter alright. & I am her daughter.

Everything good about me I've either inherited or learned from her. So praise my stubborn & praise my loyal. Praise the cookies my mother insists we bake each Christmas.

She tells me she wants to continue making them when she is gone. I tell her she doesn't have to say things like that, I have crafted my heart after her sentimental kingdom. I still drink from the plastic Burger King cups I used as a child.

I will make the cookies. Because her mother made the cookies. Because her mother made the cookies.

I praise them all for passing down these recipes for patience. I would not know anything of its virtue if it were not for that rubbery dough refusing to hold the shape of an S. My mother's name begins with S & so does mine.

Praise S for the sadness that swims in my marrow. S for the silent treatment my mother gives when she's mad. Praise we are not perfect & that is why we remember to be kind.

I cannot imagine existing without her but the reality of the situation we are in has made me all too aware that I will have to someday. She says she doesn't want to say even a practice goodbye before the surgery. Says it's too hard to bring up all the good things without crying & there is no reason to spend any of the time we have left together crying.

So, I do not say goodbye. Not even when we hang up the phone. I say see you later.

I say see you soon. & see you soon she sings back, in praise of tomorrow.