My siblings text each other,
A net to catch and diffuse the grief.
Three years ago? Is that all?
Is that a long time, or a short time?
I can’t tell.
When I first started this blog, all of my poems were about you.
Now I have moved on to lesser things.
But once in a while
The wound reopens, raw to the air.
I swore to learn to cry.
I’ve gotten better.
But this winter and the holidays
They make me think of you
a dull inner ache
and I keep smiling.
The difference is
I write, too.
You wouldn’t want us to hurt.
You wouldn’t want any pain for us.
You did all you could to spare us.
We were happy.
We are happy.
But life isn’t just smiles, is it?
Sometimes life is scraped fingers
Bruised knees, twisted ankles
High fevers and learning to stand up for yourself.
You knew this too.
This time of year I wear your long jacket.
It keeps my legs warm.
It’s very dignified.
I still see you wearing it
Helping you over the curb with your walker
to the Chinese restaurant
for Orange Chicken. Always Orange Chicken.
Orange Chicken for life.
The waitress took it kindly
When you told her you loved her
And gave her a hug.
She could tell something was wrong.
I smiled at her discomfiture
And apologized with my eyes
But deep down
I wanted to be you right then.
This chocolate shake is for you.
Happy birthday mom.