Mother’s Day Long After Mother
I feel the promise of rain in the gusting wind,
and in that far off wail of babies tired of the family gathering,
wanting their mothers to themselves.
Mother’s Day in Mexico is a three-day strung-out affair*
stretched out over the motherly memories of Gringos and Mexicanos.
Flowers fill the aisles of Costco and then melt
into the populace, streaming out in grocery carts by the threes
to mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers.
Pink cakes with chocolate scribbles fill huge center bins at Walmart,
appreciation of mothers being a going commercial concern
all over the chainstore world.
My mother I nestle in my memory like a beautiful uncut gem.
I trim off what ugly parts there might have been.
Rough stone falls away from the faceted center
until there she is, finished, refined in memory,
the way that she would want to be–
every hair in place, lipstick carefully aligned over a silly
Erma Bombeck grin, a small dog in her lap.
Or, better, wipe off the lipstick and muss the hair.
That same dog stretched out,
fencing in her stomach, waist and thigh
as she lies spread careless on the sofa,
asleep, a book having just fallen from her hand.
*By way of a short explanation, Mother’s day in Mexico is always celebrated on May 10, whereas by those expats such as myself who grew up in the U.S., it is celebrated on the second Sunday in May, which this year fell on May 12.