Finding a Mother’s Day Card

Every May I sift through the glut of greeting cards
with their glowing notes: Thank you for raising me,
You’ve always been there, and To my best friend.
I look for the one that says, Enjoy your day,
because Carla, as my mother signs letters to me,
was never a Mom. She and my father split up
when I was a baby, and Dad told her never to come back.
She went away to college, traveled the world,
let another woman feed me, bathe me, beat me
with leather belts. I see her in a black turtleneck and
blue jeans, svelte, five-ten, hair to her waist, bright green eyes,
cheek bones that could slice paper. She sips Scotch,
smokes Marlboro Reds, poses for art students, sketches
self-portraits. At 40, she walks down the aisle, again,
settles into a new life in New England, spends her days
in an art studio piecing magazine clippings into collage art,
teaching millionaires’ wives how to paint. We met once
in my hometown, hugged like strangers, dined on prime rib,
returned to our separate lives of sending letters
about the weather. Some friends say I owe her judgment,
others, respect. As every new spring brings
its buckets of rain, I wonder what we owe each other.

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2 thoughts on “Finding a Mother’s Day Card

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