Mother’s Day

As I get older
She fades just a little more
I try hard to remember
Try hard to find moments of love
Hugs and hearty breakfasts
Taxi duty and lessons in etiquette

I want to recall our 18 years
Together as mother and child
I try hard to remember
Her raucous laughter when
My sister made jokes about butterflies
Or the dog chewed up a pillow

I want to be in that moment
Relive my surprise birthday party
Family picnics at the zoo
Or the embarrassment of
Being 24 hours early
To a friend’s baby shower

I try hard to remember
Presents under a tree
A five-dollar bill mailed to France
To help pay for spring break
A torn hem in a wedding gown
Passed down for the ages

I try hard to remember
But my taste fades first
Cowboy cookies mailed in a neat box
Cherry pie under a sugary crust
Overcooked green beans
With bacon on the side

I try hard to remember
The smell of splattered grease on her apron
Orange rolls drizzled with white icing
A steaming cup of Folger’s instant coffee
Always instant, rarely ground
My nose no longer cooperates

I try hard to remember
Wrap my arms around her loving heart
To touch the silver watch
Too tight for her left wrist
And stop time forever
But touch is the next to go

I try hard to remember
The red lips painted on her pretty face
To match the colored fingernails
I replicate today
Her skin soft and smooth remains
A precious gift to me

I try, but it is hard to see
Unless I gaze in a mirror
Count the lines on my own face
Lines of time like hers
From laughter and tears
But my vision blurs now

I try hard to remember
Her loud wake-up calls
In early morning
As she flipped pancakes
And tried to roust the troops
Unwilling to face a new day

I listen and hear nothing
Of the countless story books
Read over and over
To an eager audience of children
And their friends always happy
To be at my house instead of theirs

I try hard to remember
Her sage advice as I stood there
On slippery courthouse steps
A marriage lost and long forgotten
A message of pride as to who I am
No matter the challenge life brings

But hearing also fades
The last to vanish

–Victoria Emmons, ©2015

A Mother’s Tale

Blocks in my shoes
Towels about the room
Cows moo, pigs oink
A farmer sings a tune

A smile and then a laugh
A boo-boo on your chin
All part of growing up
A phase you’re living in

Awakening at dawn
Greet a brand new day
Bananas and some Cheerios
And then a round of play

Before your little body
Tuckers out for the morn
Despite all your objections
Sleep before you’re worn

The day renews itself again
More snow, a brand new face
Just in time to search and find
A few good cats to chase

Discover slides and rolling things
Or even steps to climb
The local spot for little kids
Gives all some fun play time

Or take a spin upon a horse
A very different kind
Encircles merry songs
And a golden ring to find

Sleepy baby, your eyes do nod
So much to see and learn
A million miles in your young life
For knowledge do you yearn

Inquiring mind you have, my love
The cabinets are your prey
To open doors for bowls inside
As instruments to play

A string quartet, perhaps,
A drum or two in time
Your rhythmic beat upon the floor
Reminds me that you’re mine

And now the day grows dark, sweet boy
The time for bath is nigh
As music lulls you fast asleep
Night hugs you by and by

–Victoria Emmons, © 2014

The Sting

of the palm
as it reaches
the cheek,
the innocent
cheek, all
glowing and pink.

The pain
of the sting
as it crosses
the lips,
the sensuous
lips, so
worthy and free.

The wrath
of the world
as it crushes
the head,
the pulsating
head, once
brilliant, now dead.

The sound
of the crowd
as it mimics
the man,
the jabbering
man, once
noble and proud.

The hush
of the wind
as it drifts through
the hair,
the beautiful
hair, all
silky and clean.

The joy
of the girl
as she opens
the lock,
the garden
unlocked, now
sodden and flush.

The birth
of the bud
as it carries
the sting,
the heart-wrenching
sting, all
hidden and fine.

The cry
of the babe
as he wants her
to stay,
the boy not
at play, so
tearful and pained.

The sting
of the palm
as it reaches
the cheek,
the hardening
cheek, all
knowing and deep.

The pain
of the sting
as it crosses
the heart,
the withering
heart, no
longer a part.

— Victoria Emmons ©2013

Same. Same. Same.

Polka dot dresses
Pink bows
In our hair
My baby
And me
What shall we wear?

Same. Same. Same, Mommy
We are the same.

Frilly blue gowns
Frizzy red hair
My little girl
And me
What shall we wear?

Same. Same. Same, Mommy
We are the same.

Black mascara
Bandanas to share
My young lass
And me
What shall we wear?

Same. Same. Same, Mommy
We are the same.

Long, white veil
Everyone stares
Pretty bride
And me
What shall we wear?

Same. Same. Same, Mommy
We are the same.

Wrinkly, brown skin
Curly, black hair
Your baby
And you
What shall you wear?

Same. Same. Same, Mommy
We are the same.

— Victoria Emmons ©2013

Enough

How much is enough
To show her you care
How many times
must you weep

How much is enough
For a father to say
He loves his child
More than life itself

How much is enough
For a daughter to hear
That her papa is grieving
Her loss from his world

How much is enough
To tell her you love her
And kiss her brow
As tears wet her cheek

How much is enough
To say you regret
The pain and the prison
That one moment caused

How much is enough
For peace to restore
And pride to erase
The memory of a face

–Victoria Emmons, © 2014

Late Night Write

Why is writing a late-night affair?
Riding the waves of darkness and sorrow
I must right all the ills of the world
In a single paragraph, a simple poem,
A combination of letters to make sense of life
Or no cents at all since writing never fills my pocket,
Only my brain with wonder and my soul with thought.

I cannot live without it, this craft I have adopted
So late in life, hidden inside of me a century or more
Fearful of escaping so as not to be discovered as weak
Yet more than a week to find myself in so many words
And letters of encouragement from those who read,
Those who also cry out in the night for acceptance
And love, since that is what matters most to us all.

Write, write, write, my dearest companions, my colleagues,
Compose yourselves in beautiful harmony or ubiquitous agony
Over whatever life brings to you, and whatever you record
For all time, for rhyme is certain to please your senses
And tickle the rhythms of your life in ways you never knew
Or never considered could be, while you search for
What is good and merciful and beautiful out there.

Accept your gifts, share with the world what is in your head
Before you are dead and your talents die with you.
We, you and me, are careful to say what we say in a way
That does not harm, but makes us think, contemplate
All the horrors and the beauty of the world as it turns
On its axis bringing access to air and water and life itself
Training God’s creatures to react to its constant turning.

Turning and churning our words on the page must follow
A pattern to reveal the sensitive caverns of our inner corps
As we create a mood, develop a scene, and tell our stories
Of strength and loss, of uncertainty and challenge, of tragedy.
We speak of love, of sorrow, of bridges to cross and roads to build
The core of our very being is ripped open in a post to the world
That may never be seen or may become a scene in our obituary.

Words connect my fingers to thought patterns that pound
Into something strong and wonderful that lasts for posterity
So my children and my grandchildren and those that come after
Will know that there was once a race of thinkers and writers
And spellers and rhymers who did not need a robotic prompt
Or a creative idea log or even a spell check program to assure
The words made sense, to assure that humans would still exist.

–Victoria Emmons, 2014

Celebrate Mothers

Today we celebrate mothers. We celebrate all those fine women who have loved, given their all, planned, saved, and sacrificed so that children can have a happy life, no matter how long that life is. Some of us today will hug our children tightly. Some will text them or talk on FaceTime. Some will remember their children … remember the gift they were to us.

So for all the mothers, grandmothers, stepmothers and other people who served as mothers, as so many are often called upon to do, we celebrate you. It is through your kindness, love, caring and concern that children get a good start in life. And with a good start, with love and guidance, children become good mothers and fathers, too.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Alexander the Great

Unopened mail lay precariously in stacks about the great room, a distraction for which the recent parents had forgone in favor of cuddling baby Alexander. Each winter’s sunrise melted into the next as though days were not meant to be counted, nor even minutes. They marked time by their baby’s latest achievement. He turned his head. His eyes blinked. His feet kicked and stretched out. He grasped his fingers around his mother’s thumb.

When Alexander turned onto his side without assistance, his parents played La Marseillaise in full volume so that the neighbors complained to the concierge. The day their wunderkind held his head up for five seconds, contracts were already being drawn up with local paparazzi for magazine photo rights. His parents were convinced that the Great Alexander would coo, whine, and hiccup his way to fame. Better be ready for the onslaught of reporters and TV cameras. This child was like no other. People would be coming from far and near to greet him.