Posts Tagged ‘mother’

To all of you who are mothers and all of you who have mothers, here are three poems to celebrate the most rewarding, incredible, challenging and primary relationship of our lives. I am super lucky to have an amazing mom, and Mom, I am continually in awe of you. The older my kids get, the more I wonder how you managed to parent with so much grace and joy and confidence.

These poems were previously published in Telluride Inside and Out a few years ago … I missed the deadline to send new poems this year! Thanks Sus, for finding some to print!


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My daughter and I go down to the river

in search of smooth, flat rocks for the garden,


and though we have many times

walked to the river in search of smooth, flat rocks,


I feel some odd joy today, as if the familiar path

is leading us somewhere we’ve never been,


as if anything could happen this afternoon—

and the heart, which likes to think


it knows something about loving,

forgets that we are doing chores


and finds it can love even more.

Even my hands feel new,


seem to revel in lifting

just because they can.




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Every morning when I was a girl

my mother would wake me

with song, the same lilting lyric

every dawn,


It’s going to be such a lovely day,

good morning, good morning I say.


It sounds too grand

to call it ceremony,

and she would have appeared

an unlikely celebrant

in her bathrobe and slippers,

but she infused

this daily ritual with prayer


and to this day I wake

certain that the world

will have beauty in it

and certain that I will find it—

this the most beautiful gift

any mother could give.

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This year for Mother’s Day, an offering of four poems published in Telluride Inside and Out–one for my mother, one for my son, one for my daughter (that invokes Mother Mary, too), and one about the day I quit motherhood.

Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers–especially my own. I love you, mom!




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The Mother Makes a Request




No, not forever, I don’t

want to live that long.

But another day,

please, another week,

another year, another

decade or four. I don’t

want to be greedy,

but, tell me it’s not my turn

just yet to leave. There

is so much loving left,

so many toys to pick up

off the floor, so many

lunches yet to pack,

so many ghosts to scare

away, so many tears

to wipe, so many lines

yet to draw and erase

and draw again, so

many mistakes waiting

to be made, so much

I still want to give.

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Mom, he says, what’s déjà vu?

The tone of his voice tells me

he’s worried about how I will answer.

I tell him, It’s when you think

you’ve experienced a moment before

when in fact the situation is new.

Oh, he says. Well, my friend

who’s parents are doctors

says he thinks that when

I fell off the top bunk last night

and landed on the concrete floor

I got the déjà vu. And Mom,

he’s going to be a doctor, too.

My son knits his fingers into knots

as he speaks. He looks fragile,

a bird with a broken wing.

I try hard not to laugh,

but not hard enough,

and the laughter spills

between us. You don’t have to worry,

I tell him. He is not convinced.

But Mom, he says, He told me

that was why I could fall on my head,

but it is my leg that hurts. And

he told me that’s why I might do

stupid things even if I’m really smart.

I take my son’s worry to heart. It feels familiar,

like an alley I’ve walked in before,

like a familiar room, like a voice

I have heard, like a remembered door.

My darling, I tell him, you’re fine.

And somewhere, perhaps,

in my rhinal nervous system,

a dysfunctional electric discharge

is sending a message to tell me

I’ve said this to him before.

You’re fine, I say, and unknit his hands.

Are you sure mom? he says,

knots his fingers again.

I think I’m the one with déjà vu,

I tell him. He stares hard at me,

concerned for us all.

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On the Eve

The night before he turns eleven

the boy cannot sleep. He is so alive.

He jumps on his bed and makes up songs

and can’t stop telling me how much

he loves me. Every day he becomes

more his own, which is to say less mine.

There was a time I heard every word

that he said. There was a time I could hold

his entire body in a single arm. But I was never

able to make everything okay with a kiss

or a song, no matter how much I wanted to.

What a perfect rehearsal for now when

his heart is already practicing how to break

at the cruelness of boys and the spite of girls

and the burn of wanting something you can’t have.

Still, I hold him, knowing it won’t make things all better,

hold him through the ache when he lets me.

And tonight I delight with him in his jumping

and singing until it is time for quiet.

The boy cannot sleep. He buzzes above his sheets.

His life is somehow too much for his body.

He can’t contain it all, despite that his legs

are so long, his reach so wide. And this love

I have for him, so much bigger now than it was

when he was smaller, how can that be? Walking out

the bedroom door, I feel a surge of love leaping out

of my chest, leaking from my eyes.

I don’t even try to hold it in.

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