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“On Laughter Lines”

Updated: Jun 14, 2021

Weekly Poetry Prompts: #484 by Robert Brewer For today’s prompt, take the phrase “On (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and write your poem. Possible titles include: “On Point,” “On Target,” “On and Off,” and “On the Last Day of School.”

“On Laughter Lines”

my mother has these laughter lines. they spill from the corners of her eyes and crinkle ever so slightly so that when she smiles it looks almost as though she’s closing her eyes, almost as though she’s taking photos of sunshine and saving them for tomorrow, almost as though she knows tomorrow, rain will come in timid drops at first and then in glorious shattering sheets with the thunderous cadence of her laughter except louder my mother has these laughter lines. they run across her face like crooked branches dancing across fiery evening skies like restless rivers falling down mountain peaks crashing into muddy creeks but amy, she tells me, don’t be afraid to fall, she says play in the mud, she says you’ll laugh about it tomorrow, i promise. my mother has these laughter lines. sometimes she sees them in photos and says i’m getting old, she says but what can i do, she says that’s life, and she laughs— in spite of life and because of it, and the lines deepen just like everything else between us my mother has these laughter lines. sometimes they lie beneath her face, hidden like soldiers ready for battle for fear for loss for love of rain and mountains and valleys and rivers of mud for anything and everything she hopes to protect for family— her everything, always my mother has these laughter lines. they run deep beneath the soil— roots anchoring the ground— while her laughter thunders on storming into tomorrows, where she imagines what lies between her and me and us and infinity i love my mother’s laughter lines. last mother’s day i gave her a frame that said, “wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been.” she held it up, staring at Mark Twain’s white words on black canvas, repeating them one by one before pausing and asking in her staccato English what he really meant and she laughed and i laughed and as her laughter lines grew and spilled from the corners of her eyes and crinkled ever so slightly, this is what i said— that her laughter lines are the photographs of sunshine are the symphonies of rain, are the infinities of tomorrow before today has gone away, are all the world’s peaks and valleys streaking past life’s muddy creeks— are all of her are all of me and all of us and the way she is and was and will be.

my mother has these laughter lines. and one day, she will pass them on to me.

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