Mother’s Day

On-line it’s easy

to click from a distance,

have candy, grapefruit,

pots of living flowers

delivered to your mother

at the retirement hotel,

her address the one-step option

at every predatory website.

On Sunday a few days later

you’ll hear over the phone

about what’s arrived,

how thoughtful you’ve been,

how she’ll share

the chocolate creams

with the old army nurse

across the hall—otherwise,

how will she ever finish them

all by herself?  In the past

your dad would have helped,

and long before that all of you,

risking her wrath, taste-testing

for your favorite flavors.

Once, in ‘62, you delivered

the flowers, a little fistful

of dandelions picked from

all across the backyards.

How could you have known

their stems, thick as sodden straws,

would stain brown circles

where you tamped them even

against the chubby thigh

of your new white pedal pushers?

How could you have known

they’d get you into such trouble?

Originally published in Spilt Infinitive

Recently retired from nearly 40 years of teaching college writing, literature, and peace studies, D. R. James lives, writes, bird-watches, and cycles with his psychotherapist wife in the woods near Saugatuck, Michigan. His latest of ten collections are Mobius Trip and Flip Requiem (Dos Madres Press, 2021, 2020), and his prose and poems have appeared in a wide variety of print and online anthologies and journals.