Tag Archives: Mother

THE ALBUMS

THE ALBUMS

Mother’s shrinkage was marked by domicile

House, apartment, retirement and nursing home
shedding at each move, furniture, china, and art
except for, and never, the old photo albums
heavy in padded leather brown and green

Each visit when conversation stuttered to a stall
(Religion all but Baptist drowned
and what use is weather without crops)
out would come the albums
and in we all would dive
for pennies
bright and shiny at the bottom of the pool

Here’s one from 1958
how young the queen looked then

I WAS AFRAID OF THAT

I WAS AFRAID OF THAT

My mother was afraid of everything

She may have been afraid of me
even before I was born

I can almost remember
pulling knees and elbows in
so as not to cause her pain

Afraid even in the womb to whisper
anything she didn’t want to hear

That sort of thing stays with you

Perhaps I should be thankful
for the cliffs I didn’t step off of
too brave and blindly in the night

buy what about the doors
the doors I didn’t open
into rooms filled with light

THE UNVEILING

THE UNVEILING

On the first anniversary of my mother’s death
I find myself in the middle of New Mexico
the day late, and a prayer short

I stop my Catholic friend nun friend, now
married and converted Jewish
and tell her of my plight

Also the hope that she
or her husband might have
some words to fit the occasion

The answer is yes, the word is Kaddish
and they are meeting with the Rabbi
to arrange the Friday Shabat supper

Myself, Dorsey, Paul, Maryrita and Dan
now five, the number of her children
sit in circle in the hotel lobby

Paul is a new Rabbi and a very sweet man
he forgets some of the words, Dan helps
I say “her Hebrew isn’t that good,
I don’t think she’ll mind”

I am touched that the prayer is of praise
and not of mourning, and the idea
that whatever good I might do,
my brothers and sisters too,
are her gifts to the world

This may be a poem about salt
there is something about salt
and her gift from our eyes
as we share

THE FIRST MOTHERS DAY AFTER THE LAST MOTHERS DAY

THE FIRST MOTHERS DAY AFTER THE LAST MOTHERS DAY

Slowly it dawns on Sunday morning
that you didn’t call nearly often enough
and didn’t send nearly enough cards
or thank her nearly enough

And even if
you put the cattle racks
on the big grain truck
and filled it with flowers
till it ran over all four sides

Even if you drove it to the cemetery
and dumped the whole damn load
on her single rose grave
it wouldn’t be anywhere near enough

BURYING MOTHER

BURYING MOTHER

All that time in the womb
mother and baby exchanging cells
mother to baby and baby to mother
from one to the other and back again

One becoming two becoming one
becoming two and the two always one

It is not the same with the father
invited pleasure or invading pain
there for a moment and gone again

When you bury your mother
the worms eat you too

MOTHER’S POEM

MOTHER’S POEM

The kitchen has always been the center
of the universe of any farm or ranch

She feeds their sleepy forms in morning
clothes them for the cold or warm
and prays them safe from harm

Looks out her window to the East
where barn shadows and rolling hills
greet them as they start their day

Men in firm direction to their work
children scattering to play

The South across the lake to catch
the water’s mood foretelling wind or calm

Sometimes
sees in morning
mirages of cut banks rising
like mountains along the Eastern shore

Or more directly to the South
forms of her old neighbour’s homes
rising and shimmering
like memories of her youth

Seasons spiral out and in from this center
crocus and buttercups in the greening grass
cactus flowers and the joy of newborn calves

The growing season of the grain
and golden glory of a well stooked field

The shortening of days into winter
and the ever present stars
joined by the dance
of Northern
lights

Within each season she has watched
the play of seasons of each day
men return from roundup
children from their play

While she waits always at the center
to warm and love and feed

and safely tuck away

MOM – HAPPY BIRTHDAY

MOM – HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Oh we would circle
rattling tin wheeled trucks and trikes
and drive her crying to her bed

Gather soot enough from here and there
to keep her forever scrubbing
at our souls and skins

And worry her near to death
while she stayed up to worry us alive
from many a snow and beer filled drive

I know she does it to this day
and I’m afraid anything else I’d say
would all be mush and love
and angels watching from above
and yet still, I think I will