Call Your Mother. Tell Her About the Animal Crackers.


Waking to the sounds of rain on a Sunday morning is one of life’s gifts. The wrapping paper is the roof and walls of your house. Of course, in my case, I shed the coziness right away as I don rain gear to walk the dog. His thick black coat pearls up with drops. He’ll shed them inside, near a wall preferably.

I drink a cup of coffee, listen to Gregorian chant, write a new poem. A new poem is a gift, too, only with a smaller gift box inside, meaning the present is more mystery, mouth closed, secret intact.

Sudden first drafts are seeds. The farmer sews them knowing that some will sprout, others will grow heavy with rain and rot in the soil. Some will reach fruition, others will be cut down by wind, deer, disease. The creative process is organic. No amount of pesticide will help.

My poem “Self-Portrait” appeared on Poppy Road Review  this week. I call poems like this snapshots. There are countless snapshots when it comes to any self-portrait. This is just one part of me in few words: The good intentions part of me. The lost resolutions part of me. The concrete trophies of guilt part of me.

It is Mother’s Day. I will drive to the grocery store first, call my mother and tell her about the rain later. The crisp sound of paper bags filled with food, their symmetry in the back seat for the ride home, like well-behaved children, can send me back. And make me sad. But that is the essence of nostalgia, a heady drug indeed.

Rest assured, I won’t say to my mother when I call, “Remember our trips to the grocery store, when you sat me in front of the carriage and gave me the small, stringed carton of Animal Crackers? And the single piece of baloney from the man at the deli! I’d bite eyes, nose, and smile into it before finishing it off!”

Or maybe I will say it.

Happy Sunday. Happy Mother’s Day. Happy small, under-appreciated gifts.


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