Mother's Day

Your cloistered womb, my sanctuary.

Your waves of pain, my launch to light.

Your milk, my perfect nourishment.

Your songs, my lullaby dreams at night.

Your time, my freedom; your sweat, my peace.

Your aching heart, my road to somewhere

stretching far beyond your reach.


And what of anything have I left you,

having taken everything

(while hardly knowing it was so,

and saying so, hardly know it still)?


This morning talking on the phone

your voice was strong. I could have sworn

I was listening to an emperor,

or an orchestra, or a field of corn,

or a new moon tide swelling from the day

I emptied you by being born.


This poem is dedicated to my mom, Lil Reed, whom I "emptied" on August 26, 1963, and who today is an emperor and an orchestra and a thick corn field waving in the wind!