A Literary Magazine in Support of the Jewish Community

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"My Mother’s Ghost: Performance Art" by Claudia M. Reder

My Mother’s Ghost: Performance Art

       for Rosemary Mayer

Then the performance started.

Fabric shook out like snow falling

and I thought I saw an older woman

being revived: my mother.

A piece of fabric had fallen on a spectator’s shoulder

and the woman had laughed and had tossed it over her shoulder again,

the way Isadora Duncan had as she flew off in her ghost car,

the car that would knot her in the dance of death.


My mother never liked getting flowers,

they reminded her of funerals.

That was one of my last memories of mother,

her saying that about flowers.

At the end of the performance, the fabrics

slid off their hangars in slow motion.

I saw pieces of my mother falling,

her shoulder, knee, curved spine.

The sheer fabric floated downward,

a little at a time, laughing.

Claudia M. Reder

Claudia M. Reder is the author of How to Disappear, a poetic memoir, (Blue Light Press, 2019), Uncertain Earth (Finishing Line Press), and My Father & Miro (Bright Hill Press). How to Disappear was awarded first prize in the Pinnacle and Feathered Quill awards. She was awarded the Charlotte Newberger Poetry Prize from Lilith Magazine, and two literary fellowships from the Pennsylvania Arts Council. She attended Millay Colony, NAPA Writer’s Conference and The Valley. She recently retired from teaching at California State University at Channel Islands. Her poetry manuscript, Appointment with Worry, was a finalist for the Inlandia Institute Hillary Gravendyk Prize. You can find more information at https://yetzirahpoets.org/jewish-poets-database/.



Claudia M. Reder