A mother’s Day card

Mom in her fifties

My daughter and I bought a craftsman house 8 years ago built in the 1920s. The crown molding and the brick fireplace, even the woodwork around the leaded glass windows, are brushed with layers of cream paint which must have occurred in a 1980s remodel — along with the orange-brown speckled wall-to-wall carpeting running up the stairs spilling into the hall. I pulled up the worn carpet to find hardwood floors — gorgeous white oak. I stopped short of stripping the baseboards and trim, the effort, and the chemicals just too daunting. …

When I write about family I fall into my voice. Writing the words Daughter, Father, Husband, Cousin evokes some lens of poetic truth. Intuitively I know that the entire universe can be seen through the telescope of family: my biological family, family of choice, and family of circumstance.


It’s happening. Again. The leaves are falling at alarming rates. The charm of the early red maples is expired. The fanned rake fisted with browns and yellows leans against the garage where sorting is necessary to shield the cars against the eventual winter. The color drains from three of my fingers like an oak leaf in late October — the first telling of my need for gloves.

The news blares Trump & Covid, the raptors of our psyches as we near the election. Infection rises as leaves fall — a tidy correlation. Harm’s way becomes a chronic narrative. Nothing feels…

They got a lead on the case
Well, maybe more of an angle
The U.S. had gotten mean
Mean as meat
The Politicians?
They kept their stock close
Fed them all kinds of propaganda
Beefing them up
Like lambs to the slaughter

The Big Guys figured out everybody’s Passwords
They found their way into America
All the Antivaxxers used children’s birthdates
While the Teamsters favored lines from Willie Nelson songs
Nurses tended towards compassionate combinations
Teenagers liked fantasy and Anime characters
Farmers went for abbreviated chemical terminology

They got inside their email
And their games and their work computers
They didn’t read…

for Johnny, Jiggs, & Claire (and for Lillian’s Mom, too)

Why do we think of flying?
The dying making their way gently
to some softer place
leaving us to flap our wings in grief

There’s a need for the goodness of angels
making room for the wild among us
brought to our knees by the process of dying
Or it could be the harps

I remember my Little Golden Book
so spellbound by The Littlest Angel
I’m sure there was a harp
and that filmy blue gossamer of grief

giving relief from the sting of death
before I knew it
The Littlest…

Lise Kunkel

for the love of the written word. Pronouns she/her

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