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Tea Leaves: a memoir of mothers and daughters by Janet Mason (Bella Books April 2012) is now available -- click here for more info

“There is something here for everyone who has ever loved someone else or plans to. I highly recommend “Tea Leaves” just because it is so real and so beautifully written.”–Reviews by Amos Lassen

check out Janet Mason's author blog

read Janet Mason's latest piece in The Huffington Post --Chick-fil-A: What Would Gandhi Do If He Were Gay? ('s) featured writer:

Maralyn Lois Polak -- FRIENDS

This poem originally appeared in
FACING THE MUSIC, by Maralyn Lois Polak ( Slash & Burn Press)

BIO: Maralyn Lois Polak ( is an award-winning journalist, screenwriter, novelist, spoken-word artist, commentary columnist, and cartoonist. With architect Benjamin Nia, she co-created the acclaimed documentary, "MY HOMETOWN," premiered at Philly's Roxy Theatre, exhibited at the Sedgwick Theater, and broadcast regionally on WYBE-TV and DUTV. With screenwriter Gary Sorkin, she's collaborating on scripting SQUIRRELS EDGE, the future hit tv comedy-drama series. Her books include the multi-media illustrated CD-Rom, "Miranda Pear's Brazen Bedtime Stories: UNPC Fairytales for Grownups," featuring 53 adventures of an exciting new holistic heroine she's created, "the female Harry Potter of Romance." She has performed her original solo shows "BITCH! MY LIFE AS A DOG" and "NAUGHTY NARRATIVES ODES TO GOOD SEX WITH BAD MEN AND OTHER TORTURED TOPICS" at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. And her book of poetry, THE BOLOGNA SANDWICH AND OTHER POEMS OF LOVE AND INDIGESTION was made into a menu and served two years in a row at Philly's Book and the Cook restaurant festival. For the past decade she's been writing a weekly interactive column of political satire commentary for a leading internet news site.




(c)2007 MLPolak

1. Let him die on a Sunday, you decide.
And so you call me, and I come. There could be
no otherwise.
He lies under the fig tree in your bedroom,
too weak to follow you with his eyes.
Nothing enters him, nothing leaves;
he is a perfect circle of death.
Slowly, too slowly, he is succumbing
to his body's own poisons.
It is killing you.
On this day you have chosen, before his
suffering becomes your habit,
you ready his beloved sheepskin rug,
play some classical music on the radio,
wait for the doctor,
and somehow mute your grief.
Soon. There is nothing else to do. We wrap him
in old towels. You hold his head.
He doesn't know you.
The music flows over us, a benediction.
amusejanetmason logo
The doctor finds your door, finds a vein.
Before the needle can empty, he is dead,
not even a start or a shudder.

2. Yet, incredibly, how warm he feels:
still, beneath his fur, the imagined echo
of a dull but certain pulse,
blood and bone and flesh, a declension,
this was alive, you were, we shall be,
promise of an afterlife. Around us,
snapshots and watercolors trap him
in full vitality. We almost believe them.
You curl him up, as if this is only
a long nap. Bravely,
you wrap him up in the read sweater you once
knit against winter,
place the ragged Frisbee at his feet,
cradle him with your soft flannel nightgown.

3. After the tactless man in loud green pants
from the pet cemetery
carries him away in a plain cardboard box,
we drive to the country for breakfast, relieved:
what a hard dying, an easy death.
It is fall, clear and crisp and bright,
just a hint of chill.
You tell me about the man
who took his aged mother to breakfast
every Sunday morning
at the pancake house, out of duty not love,
leaving his own family behind.
But when she died, he found his Sunday
mornings empty;
now his children take him to breakfast
every Sunday morning
at the same pancake house;
what an easy dying, a hard death.
We sit at the side of a lake, two women,
watching little children feeding ducks.
We have passed through storms of men,
and lived.
No longer young, we have known nothing
really personal of motherhood.
Nevertheless, we are thankful for the pleasures
of children,
the joy of the sun.

readings/appearances books poetry about audio/ site map submit Tea Leaves: mothers & daughters links/contact readings/appearances