A Present, A Postcard, A Wish for Luck

May 9, 2010

Happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers of sons out there. I’m sure having a daughter is a wonderful thing, as well. But I believe there is something particularly unique about the mother-son bond. So glad I don’t have to fight fashion battles, or wage war against the beast that is hormone-screaming female puberty.

Every one else in the house is asleep right now, and I’m feeling sentimental and loved. So I give you these: a present, a postcard, a wish for luck.



I sit at this desk
in this mirrored building, and see you
across the rancorous Atlantic Ocean
your face before me clearer than any impulse
surging through cables buried
under a thousand tons of sea water.

The corners of your postcard curl
around vignettes of vineyards
(stooping vintners in loose indigo blouses,
faces sun-creased, contented) and Greek
gods photographed, rapt in their own history:
in them I heard
your voice

laughing, imitating accents. This
is what you tell me:
you are pregnant with a boy-child;
he is an acrobat on your belly,
tumbling through the warm currents
of your married love.

And this
is what I long to tell you:
he will be the distant star
on your morning’s copper pink horizon;
he will carry the book of what you are
in his heart, never reading the end.
He is a woman’s sigh, lucid and round,

a glass pear, bending the branch to the ground.
Pluck him and wrap him in velvet folds;
his soul will spark like a diamond
born beneath the crushing depths
of the earth, his image persisting
even as our vision fades.


(originally appeared in Poem, November 1995, No.74)

And here’s a little luck — because we all need some:


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