Is My Mother Calling Me?

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April 1, 2014 · Posted in Miscellany 


By Beatlick Pamela Hirst

Before Daddy died, I can remember Mama at the ironing board, ironing sheets. This was before air conditioning and the white nylon sheers puffed wisps of warm atmosphere through the bedroom window, which was dim to my eyes, after leaving the dazzle of June daylight.

I could smell the new steam iron for which she bought special distilled water. No tap water. Mama was a nurse, she made hospital corners and she had a way of turning down the sheets and fluffing up the pillows that made my bed look so inviting. I just wanted to jump in, asked if I could and she generously nodded.

I did jump in the bed but the appeal was illusive, it was hot under the covers and quickly I threw them off to go back outside, to lay in the grass, under the peach tree and watch the clouds.

Without complaint, Mama remade the bed.

After Daddy died I remember Mama in her bed and like Sylvia, as Ted charged, “into pillows sunk her head.” Only forty-four mother retreated into crossword puzzles, crocheting and Perry Mason on Thursday nights.

At ninety, when hospice care brought her home from the hospital Mama practically sprang into her bed so deftly crawling home to glory and there she died, eagerly.

Shhh, listen, is my mother calling me? She did call, she screamed: “Call the police, he’s trying to kill me!”

And my ten-year-old body was paralyzed still as stone. I lay there, helpless, ashamed. I didn’t do a thing to help mama. My little sister Debbie never woke. Next morning my mother walked into our bedroom. Blythely she trod.  As if nothing ever happened. I went to sleep thinking she was dead.

“I hate Daddy!” I screamed at her. “I wish he was dead!” Genuinely hurt, Mama whispered, ”Oh, you should never say that.”

Two days later she woke up Debbie and me. “Your daddy’s not coming home anymore,” she said.

He had died in a car crash at 1:30 a.m.,  five blocks from our house.

Debbie cried, but I was scared, amazed at my own power. I just got rid of daddy.

Formerly known as the “Godmother of Poetry” in Nashville, Tennessee, Pamela A. Hirst was publisher of Beatlick News: A Poetry & Arts Magazine for 22 years. She relocated to New Mexico and founded Beatlick Press in 2011 in Albuquerque 2011, to post-posthumously publish the works of her partner Beatlick Joe Speer.


Known as the Godmother of Poetry in Nashville, Tennessee, Beatlick Pamela Hirst relocated to New Mexico in 2003. Publisher of “Beatlick News Poetry & Arts Newsletter” for 22 years, the newsletter ceased publishing hard copies in 2010 after the death of editor Beatlick Joe Speer.

Beatlick News continues online at and Beatlick Press was established in Beatlick Joe’s memory in 2011 to publish his only book: “Backpack Trekker: A 60s Flashback”.

Beatlick Press has published eight books since Speer’s death and was nominated for two literary awards by the New Mexico / Arizona Book Awards winning first place in anthology in 2013 for “La Llorona.”. “Backpack Trekker” was a 2013 travel book finalist.


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