Poem: Anticipating Mother's Day, 2021

My youngest cried the other night
Because of a school craft
Where he didn’t know
Whose name to write.
I painted my daughter’s nails,
Blunt strokes staining her cuticles,
And she asked me questions
Men cannot answer.
I saw a greeting card that said,
“A mother’s love is irreplaceable,”
And thought (in a darker moment),
“Well, I guess we’re screwed.”

My present feels stretched
Between widening tectonic plates
Of awakening to new joys ahead
And knowing they will not replace
The ones that died with you.
A piece of our family has fissured off.

I console myself with thoughts of sculptors
Freeing the beauty hidden in marble blocks
By breaking parts of them away.
God works in such ways-
Sharpening, refining-
But today, I cannot help wondering
If maybe the chisel slipped,
And while we will recover,
The image will be forever
Fractured and diminished.