My mother was four when a man came to the door,
Like the Cleveland three and one more
She was abducted and promised candy while
The neighbor, mostly monster, whittled or filed
From where he tied hands and moored in plain sight
But though their journey was caustic and savage
Life began anew with faith and their mothers’ love
When the one, now a mother, became the savior of three
One passerby, a pilgrim of progress, did a noble deed
When he answered the frantic call at the shackled
Entrance and busted the terrible dungeon door
From which the 911 call and family life was restored.
Oh, my goodness, my mother’s start was sad and along the
Way she brought three daughters built with her courage
Delight and salt; her journey masked more than daughters
Could imagine when her marriage did not last because of
Infidelity. Still she drew her metaphoric cart along the road
And enjoyed family suppers with the Italian recipe: meatballs
On spaghetti and a sauce simmering all day; she shopped for
Materials and sewed dresses for her girls who wore Catechism
Crosses, white shoes and smiles from the Lord’s Table.
Who is a mother but the heart that shields and clamors for us?
Who is a mother but the woman we see when we pass each park?
Who is a mother but the first gift to any new born on earth?
Who is my mother but the woman who strove when pain yielded not,
Who wished each daughter dreams come true, who
Prayed “Now I lay me down to sleep…” with unending faith.
Three years to the day, two blue birds build a Colorado nest and lounge in
Galveston. She was seventy-six when she went away. . . still her daughters
Remember her words, look for her smile, and almost hear her voice;
What mother? My mother sang with the morning Tang and rocked
Us at every nightmare, every spider and wild beast afoot.