Questions my Mother Asked,

Answers my Father Gave Her

by Miriam Green


Where were you last night?

I was here, with you, though you thought

I was your father.

Where were you last night?

Out dancing with my imaginary lover

who never forgets my name.


Where are the children?

They are grown with children of their own.

They live in their own homes.

Where are the children?

They are waiting in the silken sky

for your goodnight kisses.


Do you want a cup of tea?

Not now. I’m busy. You made some

an hour ago.

Do you want a cup of tea?

I want many things. I want to stand

with you under the canopy and

never look forward.


How many children did I give birth to?

You cradled them both in your arms,

raised them to adulthood.

How many children did I give birth to?

Daughter earth is calling. Go gently to her.


Where are my keys?

I told you. Check the back pocket of your bag.

Where are my keys?

We are locked inside this room together.


Is it time yet?

We have plenty of time.

Is it time yet?

Yes, it is time.


after Mark Strand

Miriam Green is the author of The Lost Kitchen: Reflections and Recipes from an Alzheimer's Caregiver which was published by Black Opal Books in May 2019. She writes a weekly blog that is posted on this site featuring anecdotes about her mother’s Alzheimer’s and related recipes. Her blog has also appeared on the Alzheimer’s Association website

To view Miriam's recent TEDx Talk at Shenkar College on "Finding Joy in Alzheimer's, click here.


Miriam's poetry has been published in several journals, including Poet Lore, The Prose Poem Project, Ilanot Review, The Barefoot Review, Red Wolf Press, and Poetica Magazine. Her poem, “Mercy of a Full Womb,” won the 2014 Jewish Literary Journal’s 1st anniversary competition. Her poem, “Questions My Mother Asked, Answers My Father Gave Her,” won the 2013 Reuben Rose Poetry prize. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from Bar Ilan University, and a BA from Oberlin College. 


Prior to moving to Israel, Miriam worked at the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, DC, and “cut her teeth” at Moment Magazine.

She is the mother of three sabras and a grandmother of one. A 28-year resident of Beer Sheva, Israel, Miriam lives with her loving husband Jeff, Zipper the very fat cat, and a snake named Popcorn.


When she's not writing, Miriam works as a Counselor for new immigrants to Israel at AACI (Association of Americans and Canadians in Israel), a position she has held for the last 15 years. She was honored by AACI in 2018 for her dedicated service to the organization.


Miriam is also one of the founders of the current Voices Israel South group of poets that meets monthly in her home.

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