Corey Mesler, “Dear Mom”

Corey Mesler has been published in numerous anthologies and journals including Poetry, Gargoyle, Five Points, Good Poems American Places, and New Stories from the South. He has published nine novels, four short story collections, six full-length poetry collections, and a dozen chapbooks. His novel, Memphis Movie, attracted kind words from Ann Beattie and Peter Coyote, among others. He’s been nominated for the Pushcart many times, and three of his poems were chosen for Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. He also wrote the screenplay for We Go On, which won The Memphis Film Prize in 2017. With his wife he runs a 144 year-old bookstore in Memphis. He can be found at

orange line

Dear Mom

I’m sorry I wasn’t there in
your last weeks, your last days,
your last hours. You were
dying quickly. I was going slow.
The last time we spoke you
made a joke. I laughed in
astonishment. And right before
we hung up you said, as clear
as Christmas, I love you. Earlier
you told me we’d had a good
life. It makes me happy you
came to that because it took you
a fucking long time. At 94 you
found out something miraculous:
all the pain and despair were
worth it. Thank you for telling me
that, finally. And, finally, I love
you, too. I think you knew that
despite my absence, despite
that prickly angel above your bed,
transcribing the final final words,
again I love you, again I love you.





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