Oct/Nov 2001 Poetry Special Feature

My Mother Had Hazel Eyes

by Robert Lamontagne

Art by Bob Dornborg


My Mother Had Hazel Eyes

My mother had hazel eyes:
green, dark green,
so green they were black as midnight
skies over the rings of incense smoke

that drifted over me.
My mother was short
and she listened to Gershwin
a lot and drank tonic and gin

with my sister, because the men
in our family don't drink,
or so I'm told.
When I was a child

my mother with her hazel eyes
told me to hold on tight
so I wouldn't splatter on
the asphalt when that Canadian

rollercoaster went inverted
and put everyone in danger
except my mother--because my
mother didn't touch the

bar but gripped me hard when
we looked up and saw the earth
on a day of summer.
My mother with her hazel eyes

knew there was no danger,
but she would never terrify
me without reasons.
I love her,

I've always loved her,
but I never drink tonic and gin
and I never listen to Gershwin
and I don't care when my

mother's sisters say I've left
our close knit family fold.
All I know is my eyes are
brown like rings of incense smoke.


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