Mother’s Hand-Antonas Sutkus
This is the yard where babies cry, where kites fly
where a warmly tended vegetable garden grows year after every perfect year
where my three children dug their holes to China (how deep is the world, Mom?)
where they crawled on their bellies in fresh dewy grass, and
glided down the driveway on steel runner sleds, where
they held book sales and set up lemonade stands and saved their money
in pink ceramic piggy banks, where they
fought each other with water balloons and squirt guns and found a way
to climb up to the roof and
then fall down (the first broken bone) and
as my magical powers of triage (both physical and imagined) faded in time
and as I was busy growing deaf (today is my 64th birthday)
they have borne their own stars, children of the waterfalls, children of the glitter
children of the elms and the bumblebees.
After the chicken casserole and watermelon and cake,
lie back in the hammock under a sparkling sun that will never stop shining
so says Amanda, the third of my cherished and adored.
Today is your birthday, Grandma
she kisses my cheek. I curve my arm and pull her closer.
how old are you, again?
that’s old, she says, drawing out the “o”. Then quiet.
her little brain is thinking, figuring…like the sound of a spinning hamster wheel
her parents are 32. she is four. I am 64.
I think I just want to be 30. Instead of four.
why’s that? I ask.
because I don’t want to be little when you die.
*I built this poem around the last line (from an unknown author), with thanks.