10: Happy Mother's Day
Schoolhood with Mom
The end of daylight savings time --
You know, that obsolete phenomenon
That turns the 6pm darkness of March 11th
Into a reason-for-rejoice golden hour on March 12th --
Always spelled disaster for the grades of a student like me,
Always trusting the darkness to start my homework.
Imagine the rigor of my essays in January
when the rough draft started at 5:30’s nightfall
Compared to my algebra in April
that only got the nod after the dusk of 7:00.
Actually, math was never in season for me.
But imagine the academic anxiety for a kid
Whose strike-of-night homework timer fell later and later
with each month summer looming closer,
While bedtime stayed the same.
By May, no sooner had darkness come
Than my mom, always a supporter of school
But a fierce advocate of youth,
Followed in succession to say it’s bedtime.
She’d argue that I needed sleep
So that tomorrow I could pay good attention in class
Run hard at practice
And still have enough energy left over
To play with her outside
once that all that shit is done
While there’s still sun
Before getting so serious.
Not for the dogs
Mom ran downstairs with a cup of chili,
Came back empty handed,
And we joked that she fed it to the dogs
That we no longer have
Because they’ve since died.
But our whole family can quickly fall back into habit
Of making the specific whistle
and clap combination to call them from the woods
Of avoiding the carpet in the foyer
because it was always caked in hair.
Of taking precautions in a thunderstorm
Since Luke would run away.
Years later Mom still becomes misty-eyed
At the reminder of what the dogs
Could and could not eat
As declared by us, the enthusiast pet owning children,
Who informed her in unison that it could be very bad
for the dogs’ stomach
if the chili had cheese --
A poison on par with chocolate.
I heard my mom as she retired
from the lawn into the house
Rumbled around the kitchen
heels loud on the marble floor
Picked up the blue and white vase
a split-second absence of sound
my these flowers were thirsty!
Mom, thank you
For letting me come and crash,
For asking just enough questions,
And for swelling the fridge with berries
And beans, separately.
I’m settled in my new place now
And despite the lack of furnishings
It gives me a sense of home
Makes me want a garden, and lamps.
I’ve even started to fluff the sofa pillows.
But of course this will never be home.
Because that’s where y’all are,
You and Dad,
And I promise to keep dropping by.
Next time I do,
Can I take your mother’s oriental rug from the attic?
It’s of no use up there!
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