Posts Tagged ‘mother’s day’

May Again

May again, and the lilac buds
are swelling and the apple leaves
are on the verge of unfurling
and it’s almost Mother’s Day.
The geese have arrived,
and the hummingbirds weave
and the grosbeaks swarm the feeder.
On the counter, the succulents
you gave me two years ago
have doubled in size.
I treasure them beyond
their thick leaves—
treasure, more, perhaps,
their roots.
I am well aware
that although you are gone
I am no less your mom.
I want to praise what is infinite,
which I am best taught
through what doesn’t last.
What doesn’t last:
the body, the bloom,
the boy, the blood.
What lasts forever:
the growing, the breaking open,
the winging toward love.

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thank you, Mom

And though she is now late for church
and though she is still getting dressed
and though we had already said goodbye
and had nearly hung up,
my mother sits in her rocker
and gives me her full attention
as I cry. This, she says, is exactly
what Mother’s Day is for.
And part of me wants to let her go,
and part of me is so grateful
she stays with me, holding me
with her being. For though
there are no words that bring comfort,
her silence and presence do,
and though I am no longer
a little girl who can curl into her lap,
that’s what I do. I feel myself cradled
and fall all the way into her love
and it feels good to be a daughter
on this day when it’s not easy
to be a mother. It feels good
for a moment to not be the one
doing the holding. To not be the one
who is strong. To be the one
who nestles deeper in,
so deep
I can meet the unmeetable.

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with gratitude for all who have gone before

Now I know there is a circle of love—
a circle formed not only by the great remaking of self
when a child is born
but also by the great remaking of self
when a child dies.  
It doesn’t matter how old the child
or how they died. It doesn’t matter
if the loss happens today or seventy years ago.
It doesn’t matter if they live next door
or Peru or Israel or South Africa.
Now I know there is a circle
of women who have died themselves
and found a way to keep living.
They are among us at the grocery store,
in restaurants, on the street.   
They look like our sister, our boss,
our lover, our student, our friend.
They find us. They say, “I am here.”
They offer to climb into bed with us
on the days we can’t get out.
They know to say the name of our child.
They speak in the present tense.
Perhaps they light candles.
Perhaps they make meals.
Perhaps they pray for us without telling us so.
Now I know there’s a circle of love
that surrounds this circle—
a circle of others who carry us
whether we ask them to or not,
who hold us as if we are treasure,
who remind us we are deeply connected,
who weave us back into the greater cloth.
Now I know the broken heart
can be a heart that expands, a heart that widens,
a heart that meets suffering and stays open.
Now I know the broken heart will do whatever it does.
And grief is a bond
not only to the one who is gone,
but to those who remain.
I know love grows in the deepest wounds.
We go on. Like love itself, we go on.

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            Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

Because I can’t serve you
breakfast in bed, I’ll
serve you a poem,
and knowing how
you like cake for breakfast,
it will be a sweet poem,
with penuche frosting
swirled atop every line.
And because it is a poem,
we can imagine
that the mug with pictures
of your granddaughter
(due to arrive on Monday)
has already arrived
and that it is filled with
Café Vienna, and laced,
why not, with whiskey,
because, hey, it’s a poem,
and you won’t really
get drunk, just happily
tipsy on all the love
served between the lines,
the kind of love that makes you
lean back into the pillows
and close your eyes
and smile like you have
life’s best secret,
the kind of love that makes you
leap out of bed and laugh,
buoyed by joy, a bit of penuche,
creamy and sweet,
still singing on your tongue.

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My daughter plants nasturtium seeds, 

two per hole, four inches apart. 


Meanwhile, two rows away, I drop carrot seeds 

four to the inch, into the soft dark soil.  


Oh, the secrets of dirt, this kingdom 

of earth with its cool and damp quiet— 


how quickly its finite borders pull me 

into the infinite. What joy to travel here 


with my girl, though she is hesitant traveler.  

One could say the main thing we did today  


was measuring—how deep, how many seeds, 

how far apart. Perhaps. When we finish, it will look 


the same as when we began. But 

I look at my daughter across the rows, 


humming with her hands in the dirt 

and I see already in her the fiery petals,  


the peltate leaves like green flags  

that know how to play with the wind.  






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the way she loves me—

in fifty years,

never a drought




her glass always half full

even so she asks for yours

and fills it from her own

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She looks so happy with her new baby, all coo

and smile and jiggle and swing.


I smile at her, and think of everything

I do not tell her. How the child will grow up


to break her heart over and over. How

she will give him more love


than she knew she had, and it will not

be enough. How he will hate her


for holding a line. How she must hold it,

still. How she will come to doubt herself.


How all of us are broken, no

matter how hard we’ve worked to be


whole, and how none of us can

carry the other, no matter how


much we long to. How she will

beg her own heart, Stay open,


stay open. And how some wise friend

may someday say to her,


Shut down your big heart

at many a time. It needs to rest


while you are awake.

And she will know perhaps by then


the truth of love, how it is never

what we imagined. How


big a risk it is to love. How

everything depends on this. And how


she will weep, someday, watching

another young mother in the park,


cooing at her baby, remembering

how simple it seemed, and how


perhaps it is still that simple,

a mother, a child, a big world to explore.

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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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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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