My Mother's Body

Piercy, Marge

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Moore, Pamela
  • Date of entry: Jan-29-1997


The narrator reflects on her mother's death through four sections. In the first, she recalls the moment her mother collapsed and died. Her father heard the crash but refused to get up from his nap to see what had happened. The narrator hears the crash fifteen hundred miles away and feels her mother's pain. This stanza also speaks about the Jewish funeral, held in Florida while Christmas carols play out over palm trees.

In the second section, the narrator is sorting through her mother's things. She dreams of her mother at seventeen, full of hope. The third section speaks about how much of the mother remains alive in the daughter. The same hips and thighs have cushioned grandmother, mother, and now daughter. The narrator feels as if she carries her mother inside her, just as her mother once carried her.

Section four brings out issues over which the mother and daughter disagreed. The narrator was once eager to create a life separate from her mother's. Now, though, she and her mother are one and the mother can live her life through the body of her daughter.


This poem, like most of Piercy's writing, is quite straightforward and easy for those unused to poetry to understand. The poem offers no easy solutions for dealing with death. Nevertheless, the narrator strikes a balance between mourning and recovery.

Primary Source

My Mother's Body



Place Published

New York