Still Anticipating Birthday Calls from My Children

by Faye Hickman Wren

            at my age, let me tell you,
            hands  bleeding

            dazed, confused, in pain

            without the protective guise of pride or pity

            one minute my face,  hot as the stranger living
             round the corner on Friday evenings

            the next, about as cold as their heavy-hand hearts 

            this  ol'  mind races its hundred laps round the front yard

            I know you’ve seen videos rewinding


            No wham. No bam. Not even a "Thank you, Mom!"

            you think
            some things will never end but they
            eventually do. . . .

            --sometimes the tape even breaks with tension--

            so I take to mopping the kitchen floor

            putting new wallpaper over the yellow

            replanting barren spots in a neighbor’s yard with more hosta

            --more than absolutely necessary--

            replacing ceramic tile in the guest bathroom,

            not once but twice
            trying to keep the trains running  in the time

            it takes me to wipe of my eyes….

            rock myself on the front porch,

            Measure my wait in sips of elderberry wine

            Ilose the battle against a feverish forty winks, again

            but I promise me this and more:
            this birthday is going to be different.

             the clock will  strike twelve

            --take mental note,

            reminding  me of promises made more than once before--

            and I’ll call it

            and maybe, just maybe,  then I can toe that line

            only children know how to draw

Still Anticipating Birthday Calls from My Children by Faye Hickman Wren

© Copyright 2001. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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