I've long felt an affinity for Patti Smith. There are many layers to this. One day when my children were young I heard her on the radio for the first time in years. Then I discovered she'd been working at raising her children in the interim. This most excellent and inspiring poet/musician had been doing mom work, like me (but probably better). But when her husband died, she had to get back to paying work.

M Train is a reflective book. Smith doesn't write in shoulds. She writes of is. What is. What is inside and outside. How her dreams coexist with the world outside of her head.

My, does she ever love coffee. You know what else she loves? Her husband Fred. Loves, present tense, despite his having died in the 1990s. It's there in every word she writes about him.

"We want things we cannot have. We seek to reclaim a certain moment, sound, sensation. I want to hear my mother's voice. I want to see my children as children. Hands small, feet swift. Everything changes. Boy grown, father dead, daughter taller than me, weeping from a bad dream. Please stay forever, I say to the things I know. Don't go. Don't grow."

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