Doren Damico

Spotlight: Inheriting Post-it Notes



June 25, 2013

i’m in Mom’s office
helping her pack
for her new home
the last home
where she’s going home
to die

I want you to have this
she says
handing me a yellow post-it
it’s a quote that she wrote

“In the end it’s not
the years in your life
that counts.
It’s the life
in your years.”
—Abe Lincoln

(my mother
was assassinated
by cancer)


we discover post-its
on books and in piles
post-its obsolete
crumpled and tossed
some post-its i learn
shouldn’t be lost
she bequeaths them
to her eldest daughter

“The love you leave behind
is the measure of your life.”

blue ink on hot pink
—Fred Small
i think


i take them in two hands
each delicate, sticky
colored leaf
reverently pondering
the adages and proverbs
mottos and maxims
like gold-filled cracks
of ceramic tea cups
in a tea ceremony
she’s teaching me
to celebrate everything
even old post-its

“If I’d followed all the rules
I’d never have gotten anywhere.”
—Marilyn Monroe

“u only live once
but if u do it right
once is enough”
—Mae West

but Mom, i say
you’re a Buddhist


the last is sky-blue
and i read it aloud

“I have slipped
surly bonds of earth
and followed the birds
into the sun
with joy”

who wrote this? i ask
that’s my epitaph
says Mom


Doren Damico

Doren Damico is an artist, educator, and writer based in Los Angeles, California. Her first book, When You Can’t Scream… Or 10 Reasons Why I Smoke, includes poetry, photography, and an intimate narrative that explores her journey of trauma, acceptance, and healing. Doren’s poetry can also be found in: Coiled Serpent: Poets Arising from the Cultural Quakes and Shifts of Los Angeles, Nuclear Impact: Broken Atoms in Our Hands, and 2016 In The Words of Women International Anthology.

Photo by Alfredo Hidalgo