• johnschengber

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 homework

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.

After yardwork

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

And exclaimed

my these flowers were thirsty!

Oriental Rug

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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