MOTHER – By Ted KooserMid April already and the wild plumsbloom at the roadside, a lacy whiteagainst the exuberant, jubilant greenof new grass and the dusty, fading black of burned-out ditches. No leaves, not yet,only the delicate, star-petaledblossoms, sweet with their timeless perfume.You have been gone a month todayand have missed three rains and one nightlongwatch for tornadoes. I sat in the cellarfrom six to eight while fat spring cloudswent somersaulting, rumbling east. Then it poured,a storm that walked on legs of lightning,dragging its shaggy belly over the fields.The meadowlarks are back and the finchesare turning from green to gold. Those sametwo geese have come to the pond again this year,honking in over the trees and splashing down.They never nest, but stay a week or twothen leave. The peonies are up, the red sprouts,burning in circles like birthday candles,for this is the month of my birth, as you know,the best month to be born in, thanks to you,everything ready to burst with living.There will be no more new flannel nightshirtssewn on your old black Singer, no birthday cardaddressed in a shaky but businesslike hand.You asked me if I would be sad when it happenedand I am sad. But the iris I moved from your housenow hold in the dusty dry fists of their rootsgreen knives and forks as if waiting for dinner,as if spring were a feast. I thank you for that. Were it not for the way you taught me to lookat the world, to see the life at play in everything,I would have to be lonely forever.
Ted Kooser