Rosemarie Kostashen

She talked like a pirate, mouth askew
as if cradling a pipe to one corner while
her eye drooped on the right side,
which she would say was the wrong side now,
wishing she’d gone to the doctor before
Ramsay Hunt took over her countenance.

I told her she looked ten years younger
on the wrong side, that women paid money
to plump and soften the evidence of their lives
but she’d only laugh, squinting at me
with her right side eye behind glasses that
made her look a bit like Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Before Ramsay Hunt she’d go into her garden
not to deadhead flowers or pull up weeds
but to remember the right side life she had when
her husband was alive and the Chinese lived next door,
before the wrong side nephew moved into the basement
to be saved from a boozy life on the street.

At least that was her intention, to save him from himself
because no one on his wrong side family would,
and when she died the basement was a graveyard
of Smirnoff, Craven A’s and hardcover books
stacked up as tables that read like a Who’s Who
on the right side of literary greatness.

The house is still there, on a right side street
that used to be the wrong side of prosperity
but that’s progress for you, when the old trees
die off with the Polacks and Chinks who left
their nails in the dirt with next years’ potatoes.

Rosemarie Kostashen

In October 2012, I drove 6,800 kms with my artist husband, Ric Kokotovich (, and my dog Iggy, to spend 6 months in our adopted city of Merida. Leaving the fast paced world of Calgary behind, I packed my books, art and entrepreneurial spirit, and set off to explore what lay beyond the borders that had become my life. In October 2013 we hit the road south again, hoping to find out what ‘living the dream’ really means. This is my adventure.

17 comments on “Rosemarie

  1. You have a way with words. You have a way of speaking of someone loved with so much respect. You have this inner light that glows softly, like a caress, which enveloping your beloved ones in such gentleness and beauty.

  2. Merrill Wattie

    She would have liked this.

  3. Diane Brown

    A sweet tribute and lovely photo

  4. That’s beautiful. Descriptive imagery and a touching story line—like a flash fiction piece. Rhythm too. Tick-tock. Like a metronome.

  5. Lucinda Young

    This is really evocative Alison. I especially like the third stanza, in part perhaps because it reminds me of my own mother but it really brings Rosemarie so vitally into the poem, into her house, her world, her life.

    • She was so hesitant to let me take her photo, so self-conscious…Ric said it’s the nicest photograph he’s ever seen of his mom and I was happy she trusted me. Thank you for your feedback on the poem and I am touched it reminded you of your own mum 🙂

  6. Katherine S. de Barrueta

    LOVE your writing!

  7. Superlatives come to mind!! the left side right side narrative device works really well and flows easily. I really thought it was RBG, she would have enjoyed the poem too…A very touching poem, Alison, the hard content become revealing.

  8. Alison– This is so beautifully written, with such love & insight into her. It’s so poetic. Your writing tells me a lot about you, -your sensitivity & depth.
    And I think this encourages all of us to truly SEE the people around us. Thank you.

  9. Tricia Kershaw

    Morning Ali,

    I love, love, love this portrait and tribute to Ric’s Mom. Really evoked a lot of different emotions, you truly are a gifted wordsmith!! Hope you and Ric are doing well and belated birthday greetings to Ric.

    Love ya Tricia xxx


  10. uzvolman

    You inspire me

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