Mother’s Day

—first published in Spilt Infinitive


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 your only 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 1962, 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?


About the Author

D. R. James’s most recent of nine collections are Flip Requiem (Dos Madres Press, 2020), Surreal Expulsion (The Poetry Box, 2019), and If god were gentle (Dos Madres Press, 2017), and his micro-chapbook All Her Jazz is free, fun, and printable-for-folding at the Origami Poems Project. He has taught college writing, literature, and peace-making for 36 years and lives in the woods near Saugatuck, Michigan. To view more of their work click below.