Tuesday, May 12, 2009

mother's day 2009

on saturday night,
after i had put the kids
to bed, i sat in the
kitchen of the family i
babysit for and tried
to write a note
for my ma.

a note on the back of
a postcard from the
chicago history museum
with a gorgeous silk 1925 day dress
by gabrielle "coco" chanel
on the front. i thought she
might wear that dress, given the chance.

it was a mother's day note
and a thank you
note. "thank you for trying
to make sense of me and
the convoluted college
application and admission process."
and then i needed to end it.

three little words. which three?
"happy mother's day" is trite,
and i'd already written it
and it wasn't what
i wanted to say, anyway.
"thanks so much"?
nah, too impersonal.

"i love you."
oh my gosh, is that
what i should write?
that sounds like the right
way to end it.
it's personal and short and sweet
and not overused by my mouth.

"i love you."
i started to cry.
that must mean something.
my left hand, my writing hand,
shook, hesitant. do i mean it?
and the 3-year-old wandered
out for more milk.

"i love you."
back to it.
if i'm crying, if i'm
this terrified of three
little words, so carelessly flung
about by teenagers and pop singers,
does that mean i mean them?

"i love you."
i wrote it fast.
i wrote it , ma!
i wrote it.
i wrote it with tears on my cheeks.
you're gonna freak, ma.
you'll know that i mean it when i say it.

"i love you."
sunday morning you read those
words. over the table cloth
of circulars and the new york times.
i watched your eyes, from the other side
of the table. your eyes teared and
you stood up, arms out, a hug for me.

"i love you."
you said, arms around me.
"i love you, too," i said
for the first time in many months.
you were crying. trying not to.
i knew you would.
i did.

"i love you."
you told me the last time i said it,
when we both burst into tears,
that you loved my honesty,
meaning that, you knew
i wouldn't say it unless i meant it,
and you couldn't wait for that day.

"i love you."
i don't know if i meant it.
i don't know what it means.
but it made me cry,
the thought of you reading
those words, so that must
mean something.

"i love you."
well my mix-tape
didn't matter after that.
later you said, "thank you
for my mix-tape and
i love my card."
i'm pretty sure you'll be saving that card for a long, long time.

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