Writes With Pencils

fiction, memoir, essays and poetry

Tag: Mother

Mother’s Bloom


On this first day of spring
the white narcissus in my yard
hang their heads
still timid, barely more than buds,
planted so late in the fall
after the first frost
by this unskilled gardener.

The neighbors’ daffodils
and those in the park
and along the freeway through downtown
have all been aflame for weeks,
six-petaled suns
trumpeting hope
before I could feel it, before it was here.

I worried what the neighbors would think,
their late arrival
a sign of my irresponsibility,
the kind everyone notices
but no one mentions
like a baby born only seven months
after the honeymoon.

But there’s no expiration date on hope
I remind myself
after impatiently urging
my bulbs to bloom,
their pale blush and slow unfurling
now a joy that erases
this mother’s sense of shame.

Of Wheel, Loom, and Needle

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Spiraling strands of gifts and burdens

from my mother and father

and their mothers and fathers

and all of my ancestors,

from the beginning of time,

weave the cloth of body and mind.


With calloused fingers

the fibers are spun

of wool, shorn from sheep

who graze free in all seasons,

and of flax, beaten from straw,

harvested from drought-riddled fields.


On this sturdy homespun

with clumsy stitches, life sews

into the double helix of my DNA

a random patchwork of experience

and elegant patterns of emotion

that both adorn and strengthen it.


The most beautiful of these

are embroidered by love and loss

in eyelet, feather, and cross stitches

in brilliant peacock and orchard hues

of silken thread: unraveled cocoon,

fine and delicate,

yet the strongest of all.

Ocean Womb



Before you were human you crawled from the sea
to inhale the sweet air,
drink spring water
and dry yourself in sunshine on solid ground.

Each lifetime you relive this doomed evolution,
leave your mother’s womb,
feel the force of gravity,
and open your eyes to take your first breath.

You see your own visage in the pools of another’s eyes
perfect twin images,
you look away
not from fear of the other, but of truly seeing yourself.

You yearn to return to this ocean of life to understand
the meaning
and the mystery
and the justness of why you are, and others have ceased to be.

But, it is impossible to devolve from having lungs and limbs
to growing gills and scales,
abandon plane and mountain,
to swim through liquid atmosphere eternally.

Salinated and undrinkable, filled by millennia of tears
you grow more distant,
isolated on foreign soil
afraid to venture beyond the sight from shore.

We call them continents to sound grand, but humanity
lives on islands,
turned inward,
with our backs to the winds and currents between us.

Our sorrows, trials and wounds are universal;
our islands embraced
by a single spherical sea
of turquoise, midnight, glacial frost and forget-me-nots.

Please, stretch your limbs, relieve your bones the weight of gravity
float on the sea,
face to the sky,
as you seek your mother’s arms, long past childhood.

The Mind’s Window


I sit, warm and content

in my secure attic nest

rocked by the same chair

in which my mother once rocked

a new born me.

Gusts beat about the crown

of pine across the street.

Its branches bend, whip back

when they’ve reached

their arc’s extreme.

Strong and steadfast

yet pliable, I take note

of its example of survival,

how to dance with wind

free, but rooted to the earth.

From misty morning

to moonless night,

the images I’ve witnessed

through these nine panes

reflect across my mind.

I wonder what it must be like

to be confined

to a single room

by imprisonment,

infirmity, or fear.

I wonder what it must be like

to see the world

through a single window,

if that is enough

to let the mind fly free.

I feel grateful that this

is just a mental musing,

that I may leave this chair,

this room, this house, this city

and country as I please.

So my imagination travels easily

to dance in other worlds and time

while I sit, held by the same chair

in which my mother once held

a new born me.

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