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Last Laugh
Jayne Jaudon Ferrer


I am mowing the lawn at your house,
sweating in the late spring sun,
breathing hard--okay, panting--
when I hear you laugh.
It is the laugh I loved best: full
and throaty; musical, with whoops--
the kind they say adds years to life,
except yours is over.

For five months I have missed you,
have wept over popcorn in the grocery aisle,
pink pumps at Penney's, hymns at church,
a blaze of azaleas in a neighbor's yard--
things you would have loved, did love.
It is in these imperceptible places, these
minor moments of my life where you used to be
and now aren't, that I miss you most.

But here is your laugh,
come back to mock my middle-aged,
out of shape self as I slump, spent,
against your Japanese maple.
Hilarious indeed that while I am about the
yardwork you adored and I abhore,
you check in with a laugh to give me
a second wind.

From She of the Rib: Women Unwrapped (CRM Books)

Jayne Jaudon Ferrer is the author of five books of poetry, a nonfiction book about games, and a novel, Hayley and the Hot Flashes. Jayne created in 2009 to share the pleasure and diversity of poetry. A former copywriter, magazine editor, newspaper columnist, and freelance journalist, her work has appeared in hundreds of publications. When not writing or reading, Jayne enjoys music, old movies, gardening, hiking, and good conversation. A native Floridian, she has lived in Greenville, South Carolina, for almost 30 years. Learn more about her at




Post New Comment:
wendy morton:
What a gift: you mother's laugh and these memories. Your fine poem introduces us to her, and of course, to you.
Posted 10/24/2010 12:01 PM
Ginny C.:
When it comes down to it, the things we remember about a person, the things that make him or her that inimitable self, are the things the person loved most.
Posted 10/24/2010 11:25 AM
I have tears too. Lovely poem, Jayne.
Posted 10/24/2010 10:28 AM
I esp. love the second stanza, that catalogue of items that remind you of her. I find myself doing the same when I hear a broadcast of the World Series (my baseball-loving father), see full-blown Japanese magnolias (my mother cherished hers),see a re-run of M*A*S*H (my older son, who never missed it and adapted some of Hawkeye's mannerisms), read of canoes trailing the New River (which my husband worked to preserve in its natural state)--my heart is nigh filled to explosion with such memories.
Posted 10/24/2010 08:59 AM
My mother has been gone 12 years and still I catch myself wanting to turn at the corner that leads to her house so that I might confide in her or tell her something her great-granddaughter just did. It always takes me up short when it happens. I suppose mothers are forever, even when they are gone. Great poem!
Posted 10/24/2010 08:16 AM
It's the little things, even after 25 years. When I hear the school bus rounding the corner, I think of telling my mom on the other end of the phone, "gotta go, they're coming." You captured it all.
Posted 10/24/2010 07:12 AM
I am sitting here with tears in my eyes. This is one I'll print out to keep.
Posted 10/24/2010 06:17 AM

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