For Denise, on Mother’s Day
Someday you will be on the receiving end
of the athlete’s face-flash, thumbs-up wave
to the force responsible for all he is today.
Now you are the hands that wipe face and tear
chicken into tiny strips on plastic plates
you wash and stack three times each day.
Five years hence you will buy spiral-bounds
and comic book lunch boxes soon lost
or left for dead on schoolyard steps.
Sometime next year you will exhale,
even when you’re not alone or free
to finish a report or nap on a cloud.
At a certain age, you will wonder again
if you really are a mom when the proof
lives elsewhere with another pretty blond.
This is the game you’ve joined late,
looking for yourself laughing in the stands,
seeing you’ve always been on the field yourself.