Two Post-Mother’s Day Poems by Mary Lou Meyers

(My note: My mother died when I was 35; not young, but not old. I still miss her sassy language, bawdy jokes, and powerful presence. Here, Mary Lou Meyers, my classmate, reminisces about her mom. I thought to include them as part of a month-long celebration of our moms, here or gone from the earth, but never from our hearts. ellensue

Sunny-Side Up
How much love condensed in the eggs she fried,
always “sunny side up,” no matter how she suffered inside,
and the oranges she segmented or juiced
always heavy on the pulp,
life-giving nutrients,
not the watered down variety.
How naturally her stong arms partitioned and pummeled
the yeast bread until it started to rise,
inspired by the pilot light on our gas stove.

But it was how she shepherded us to do the right thing,
but spared us too,
taking the brunt of everything we did or didn’t do,
like weeding the garden,
often telling fibs to alibi.
What happiness she felt when we followed through,
her smile mirrored in our shiny brass fixtures,
after I finally got the knack of the “elbow grease,”
she always harped on for anything worth doing.
How I miss the earnestness of her gaze or how she minimized
what loomed large and significant at each stage
like a pimple that bloomed before the Junior Prom date.

“Don’t worry, it will be gone before you get married,”
she promised, “here’s some cover-up
the druggist mixed up, he did the same thing for Joan,
four years older and a Prom Queen in our high school.
I wore it proudly as I did the taffeta gown she made for me,
powder blue, which fit me to a “T.”

Pumping Pedals for Our Life-Line

It seemed such a mystery to me
how mother’s discerning feet soft-pedaled:
a school dress for me,
a shirt for Bob so seamlessly;
while her eyes strayed out the streaming window
where we released pent-up energy,
her feet drumming with alarm,
whipping up furiously Cowboys and Indians,
Robin Hood and his Merry Men with neighborhood pals,
a peasant skirt with bodice for me, Maid Marian,
or just one of the delinquent boys,
green felt hat with a feather.

How smooth the transitions igniting fires within
for out-of-reach fantasies,
from raw material dreams.
Mother pumping up to make good
with plausible costumes,
a Prom dress for me, Dresden blue
like her china from Germany.

Our memories worn into grooves
of shadowed late afternoons, themes
that blossomed into youthful enterprise.
Out of those schemes came Bob’s
“Helping and Human Relations,”
“Possibilities Mind,”
and my Poetry that spans the gap
while so many fall victim behind
adulthood’s guarded lines.

The Singer sang for its supper,
Mother steadied her wandering feet
throbbing with emotion to repeat
appassionato the vision of her children,
rising above the stagnant waters of love.
The firing up, the drowning out, the moving on
of mother’s pedal craft;

skimming over impediments like rules in school,
filling the barren desert of the Foreign Legion,
the Singer’s barrage of images carried on.
Ready to change or quicken the pace
when the grandchildren came:
ready to carry on with a coon-skin cap
on top of young Dan’l Boones;

a yellow paisley costume with bonnet
for two-year old Sue
at the Bicentennial at Valley Forge.

New places, new faces designed,
until she had exhausted her resources,
and sent us on our way
while she sewed on and on with her thought waves
of interconnecting thread,
weaving prayers for our safekeeping
even into her grave.

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