I Wave to Her Now (For My Mother on Mother’s Day)

That’s my mom in the middle, with her sister Kate and brother Omar.

I wave to her now
as we drive away
and my children call out
like hungry chicks
bye mimi! bye mimi! bye mimi!
and in that moment I remember
being a boy
waving to her from
the school bus as it stole me away
from our farm
she stood on the porch
with her steaming coffee and saw me
for as long as I could see the porch
she was still there
so that I imagined her perched there
all day
waiting for me to return

and in another memory
there she stands
at the sink
always the sink
in every hot house where we lived
without air conditioning moisture
oozing from the glasses of ice water
the lizards in texas
the flies in pennsylvania
and she stood there as if nothing was wrong
washing dishes
making dinner
standing there
talking to me with her back turned
soft shoulders
brown hair
and I never once considered
maybe she didn’t like doing dishes
maybe she didn’t feel like making dinner
maybe she would rather be talking
to a friend instead of
me, only a boy
but that is my mother
for you
I never felt the edge
of complaint from her never
the iron line of resentment.

I remember the day I climbed the bus
at the end of the long driveway
looked to the porch
and she was gone
for some reason or other
how all that long day I didn’t feel right
how all that long day I felt like crying

and I wonder now if that’s how it will feel
when she is gone –
like an empty porch
like a vacant spot by the sink

that’s not true
because I know
from experience
she will still be waiting for me or
talking to me with her back turned
her soft shoulders
her brown hair her voice
in the wind
or the sun shining through glass
or coming out of the lilacs she loved

I wave to her now
as we drive away
and in waving I remember

4 Replies to “I Wave to Her Now (For My Mother on Mother’s Day)”

    1. Thank you, Diana. A high compliment indeed, considering how much I respect John’s work. It was actually after reading his short poem that I sat down and wrote this.

  1. Beautiful, and so moving. I saw my own mother at the sink, amid the tears, in this piece.

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