Happy Mothers Day!



One hand follows the other

to this place where bears scuffle

over huckleberries, deer flies

rule. Well dry, climbing roses

rest, wait out freak heat.

Gardens are to woodlands

what drag queens are to women.

I tend seedlings, bulbs, plots,

fume as my terrier, soft woofer, degenerates

into a baying Cerberus. I am expecting

no one. Then I hear gears,

wheels pulverizing the rutted gravel road.


I am expecting nothing. Nothing

is what I receive until your teeny foot

in my door, your arrival triangulating two

parties. Spoony offshoot, the final score

of recreational sex into overtime. A boy. To bore

into my nape and puke and suck hard.

I must have been a girl before. I forget history.

How many years we angled in the Tetons.

Buff. Randy. Flush. How many sappy

songs he scritched onto tree bark.


Our nativity, out here, on a bed of curling,

luminous white fungi. Or while I bob

in the pond, dozing between koi. Pains.

Suspended yellow hands will wave, cheer;

maple leaves ensnared in a web of bare boughs.

Alder trunks will lean over us,

black pencils graying, mottled, like soldiers

erasing interlopers, blending in to make peace.

The vegetable patch, with stalks of pink

rhubarb will fuel our labour. I hope it’s on a night

the mountain lion sleeps. You are born


in October. Know what you want. Know

that I have it. Zero in on immunoglobulins. Fat.

Sugar. I smell like you. The flow may slow

though we nurse until you are two, my nipples

tall, sturdy. Prissy finger wags. Hissy grandma tongue

gags. Perverts. Just don’t call me late for supper.

Junior’s favourite corny joke. Before I forget,

she was stacked, dreaded parent-teacher nights

and ran our household like an ant farm.


Not willing to wait, you nearly die from myth.

A believer. In Santa. Age eight. Lodged

in the chimney. Woody, sweet as a cinnamon stick

tender volunteer fireman work hours to heave-ho,

hand over. A smudge. Intrepid soot cub,

legs strapping my waist. Frightened, at last.


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